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The recent marriages of the richest of the rich, business tycoon of South Africa, now based in Dubai, Gupta brothers, extremely close to the former SA president Jacob Juma, in which a whopping amount of alleged Rs 200 crores were spent in Auli, Joshimath was not only the talk of the town but subject of immense controversy as well in the regional and national media.
The marriage of two capitalist brothers which solemnised on 19th and 20th June with the participation of the VVIPs including the former Chief minister of Uttarakhand Harish Rawat have also undoubtedly and unambiguously vindicated the fact that encouragement to crony capitalism has become the order of the day with both the present and former CMs, incidently both Rawats, though ideologically opposite to each other, (but) standing in favour of the Guptas in unison.
While the chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has emphatically said that the highly extravagent marriage worth Rs 200 crores was in no way the threat to the environment of the hills as being raised in the media, the former chief minister Harish Rawat too lauded the event in all earnestness.
Sounds ironical that a marriage party that hires 200 helicopters to ferry its guests to Auli, the marriage venue, later on restricted by the Allahabad high court, with hundreds of vehicles involved and massive fanfare was of no threat to the environment of Uttarakhand himalayas according to the incumbent CM.
The BJP government of Uttarakhand is trying to vindicate its stand for granting permission for this mega event by saying that no harm has been done to the fragile environment of Auli in the Uttarakhand himalayas.
In support of his contention the chief minister of Uttarakhand said : The environmental objections raised in the context of this mega marriage ceremony in Auli is not justifiable as it is not an alpine medow. Auli is simply a tourist place where there are hotels of Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam n other hotels as well.
He rather calls it an investment opportunity thus using the technicality to defend the permission granted by his government to hold this highly expensive wedding by South Africa and Dubai based business tycoons, the Gupta brothers.
The point is, how come come the permission for such a highly extravagent and vulgarly ostentatious marriage was granted to NRIs’ Gupta brothers earlier living in South Africa and now hiding in Dubai at Auli, an internationally popular hill station knowing very well that it may cause a great harm to its environment and the fragile ecology.
Thanks to the Uttarakhand High Court which restricted the movement of 200 commercial choppers against a PIL filed in the court failing which the terrible sound of these choppers would have adversely disturbed the ecology of the Garhwal, himalayas.
The court had also directed the Gupta brothers to deposit Rs. 3 crores to the state government in order to use this money for cleaning operations post marriage.
An amount of Rs. 1.5 crores has already been deposited while the rest will be deposited now, since the marriage has already been solemnised.
The court had also barred the organisors from constructing 8 helipads in Auli and Joshimath that had to be used for landing of 200 helicopters for ferrying the VIP guests.
The jurists of the division bench of High court were extremely annoyed and said that construction of any permanent or solid structure in the meadows ” Bugyals” is banned and the overnight stay of tourists is also restricted. The maximum stay should be restricted to 200 guests only. It’s earlier order also directed the organisors not to execute any construction and encroachment in the alpine meadow area.
There were unaccounted number of guests, myriad numbers of vehicles emitting gases and dust including thousands of plastic bottles and what not posing great danger to the hills’ environment compounded with traffic snarls on the Badrnath and Hemkunth Sahib route from Rishikesh to Badrinath on 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st June, the days of arrivals of the guests and their return from the venue.
It was indeed a historic marriage with immense vulgar ostentation, ever happened in the state of Uttarakhand by any NRI doing business abroad and the sate government defending them .
The marriage was much hyped in the electronics as well as the print media with a social activist lawyer filing a petition in Nainital High Court requesting it to ban the movement of 200 helicopters which were engaged to ferry the guests at the marriage spot on 19th and 20th June and also restricting the mega event to happen.
However the hulla balloo is now over leaving behind a trail of controverties.
It may be recalled that Ajay and Atul Gupta have now been black listed in South Africa for alleged financial frauds worth milions of dollars and are currently living in Dubai.
They have been accused of seeking massive undue favors arbitrarily from the previous South African president Jack Juma and are charged with a State Capture Scandal.
The interpol is badly behind them. According to a news report of Girish Ranjan Tiwari, the South African government has signed the extradition treaty with the UAE government to extradite them back to South Africa inorder to bring them to justice.
Their entire moveable and immoveable properties, palatial bungalows, expenses cars and planes have been seized. This mega marriage event in thehills of Garhwal himalayas have left behind trails of controversies similar to the one connected with the mega event of Art of living of Sri Sri Ravi Shanker in Delhi few uears ago for polluting Yamuna and is banks inviting the environment court’s (NGT’s) wrath finally cnstrained to pay a penalty of Rs. Three crores.