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Cameras to count devotees

Kamakhya set for Ambubachi Mela this week

Sadhus at Kamakhya temple on Tuesday. (UB Photos)

Guwahati: Laser-enabled cameras will keep count of devotees visiting the Kamakhya temple during Ambubachi mela from Friday.

Assam Tourism Development Corporation chairman Jayanta Malla Baruah said on Tuesday that 10 laser cameras will be installed on all routes to the temple to count the number of visitors.

"Earlier we gave out an estimate of devotees visiting the temple during the mela but this time we will use laser-equipped cameras to record their actual number," Baruah said. He said real-time updates on the number of devotees will be available on www.kamakhyatourism.com.

The mela begins on Friday night and will continue till June 26 morning, during which the goddess is said to undergo her menstrual cycle.

Baruah said chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal will inaugurate the mela at 4pm on Thursday. Bhagwat katha recital and cultural programmes will be held on all five days. He said five camps have been set up for one lakh devotees, with the biggest one inside the old central jail complex at Fancy Bazar.

Baruah said there would be traffic restrictions from the foothills to the temple but vehicles will be provided for the physically challenged and the elderly. "We request able-bodied devotees to walk up to the temple," he said.

Police have divided the city into 14 sectors to maintain law and order during the mela, of which six are "most vulnerable".

"An SP-rank officer will be in charge of the six sectors and over 100 policemen in plainclothes will be deployed in and around the temple. Four hundred CCTV cameras will be installed and around 1,200 volunteers will be in place," city police commissioner Hiren Chandra Nath said.

Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Virendra Mittal said visitors will not be allowed to travel to Kamakhya hill from midnight till 5am for cleaning and other work.

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