Auli weddings: Rs 2.5 lakh penalty on Gupta brothers



A penalty of Rs 2.5 lakh has been slapped on the South Africa-based businessmen brothers Ajay and Atul Gupta for scattering garbage in Auli, Uttarakhand where the weddings of their sons were held last week, an official said on Saturday.

"We have imposed a fine of Rs 2.5 lakh on the Gupta brothers," said S.P. Nautiyal, Executive Officer of the Joshimath municipality. 

While a one lakh fine is for defecating in the open, a Rs 1.5 lakh penalty is for scattering garbage. A copy of the challan has also been sent to the event management company which made arrangements for the weddings, he said.

In addition, the municipality is also preparing a bill of Rs 8.14 lakh for collecting the garbage left behind after the weddings that were held amid environmental concerns. 

The Gupta brothers have already deposited Rs 5.54 lakh with the municipality which also includes Rs 54,000 as user charges.

After the high-profile weddings, the Joshimath municipality has so far collected 306 quintals of garbage from the marriage site with the municipality pressing 3-4 trucks daily to collect the waste. Officials said they would be able to clean the entire site by Sunday.

Meanwhile, the issue of refund of the Rs 3 crore security deposited by the Gupta brothers with the Chamoli district administration will be decided on July 8 by the Uttarakhand High Court.

As per the high court orders, a group of 13 officials from the Forest Department, the State Pollution Control Board, the Chamoli District Administration, the Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan, the Revenue Department and the Public Works Department monitored and videographed the wedding.

Top officials said they did not come across any damage to the flora and fauna of Auli.

Since the court barred the use of helicopters at Auli, the choppers landed at Ravigram near the Joshimath helipad from where the guests were ferried to the wedding venue in cars.

The court had also fixed the number of guests at 150. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and yoga guru Baba Ramdev were among the VIPs who blessed the newly wed couples. A bevy of Bollywood stars, including Katrina Kaif, performed at the weddings.

The Chief Minister had defended the marriages saying environmental concerns were not justified and Auli could be developed as a big tourist destination.IANS