The high profile marriage of South Africa’s Gupta family members, slated to take place on 20 and 22 June in Uttarakhand, has landed in trouble with the Uttarakhand High Court imposing a ban of movement of the chopper in Auli where the main function is to be hosted. This move has provided a serious blow to the Gupta family as most of their guests and a team from Bollywood was to reach Auli by air. The court order is likely to affect the wedding schedule in some way.
Hearing a PIL, the Uttarakhand High Court in Nainital, on Monday, asked tough questions from the state government. The state government found the situation tizzy with the court ordering the state pollution control board to prepare an instant status report on the impact of the tented colony and other preparation made for the marriage party in ecological sensitive Auli and submit the report to the court by Tuesday. The court has also asked the Gupta family to deposit an amount of Rs 2 crore in the state government’s account and the final amount will be fixed in the next hearing.
The Uttarakhand government was acting as a marriage party in the case and was terming promoting destination wedding in a big way in the hill state. The information was circulated in media terming it a Rs 200 crore marriage ceremony. Ruderpur based advocate Rakshit Joshi filed a PIL with the Uttarakhand High Court and the bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Rangnathan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma heard the case and asked, “Who provided the chopper landing permission to the Gupta family in Auli?”
Guests and family members of the Gupta family began arriving in Auli on Monday. But after the court order, a ban on the movement of helicopters in Auli exists and the Gupta family will have to work out an alternative plan to ferry their guests.
The change in weather, with showers taking place, affected the preparation work for the wedding party. The weddings of Ajay Gupta’s son Suryakand and Atul Gupta’s son Shashank will take place this week in Auli and some rituals will be performed at Triyuginarayan (Ruderprayag).
Last year, the Uttarakhand High Court had issued a direction to the state government to remove all permanent structure, encroachments and limit the entry of tourists to high altitude pastures. Passing judgment on public interest litigation in Nainital in August 2018 the court banned nigh stay of tourists in the meadow, limit the number to 200 tourists per day and also to discontinue commercial grazing of cattle. Auli is a prominent ski resort centre of Uttarakhand and it is established in a high alpine meadow.
Many local people associated with trekking trade are annoyed with the state government for adopting a rigid stand for adventure sports companies. When an individual sets up a tent in a high alpine meadow he/she is asked to follow strict environmental norms. But, in the case of Gupta brothers, the Uttarakhand government is thrilled with the development and is providing warm hospitality to the family.
The Gupta brothers are known for their style of working in close proximity with political leaders. The close link of the businessmen with former South African President Jacob Zuma created a big controversy.