Around the globe, several nations are devising ways to tackle climate crisis. Closer home, Uttarakhand government is also planning a ‘green tax’ that will be imposed on tourists coming to the state. According to a Times of India report, all urban local bodies in the state will decide area-specific tax that may vary from one zone to another. The funds collected under ‘green tax’ scheme will be utilised for the area’s development and other climate-friendly initiatives. The move comes days after the state officials fined the Gupta family of South Africa for littering and open-defecation during the extravagant weddings of their two sons at the Auli ski resort.
A fine of Rs 1.5 lakh was imposed on the Guptas for scattering garbage and another Rs 1 lakh for defecating in the open, said Satyapal Nautiyal, executive officer, Joshimath municipality.
Nautiyal said the civic body had also sent a copy of the challan to the event management company that made the arrangements for the weddings, estimated to have cost Rs 200 crore. A bill of Rs 8.14 lakh has also been sent to the company for collecting the garbage left behind after the weddings, the officer said.
The Gupta brothers had already deposited Rs 5.54 lakh with the municipality, which also includes Rs 54,000 as user charges, and have responded to the challan, Nautiyal said. The officer said the municipality had collected 321 quintals of garbage so far from the marriage site and had filled almost all the pits.
Ajay Gupta's son Suryakant's got married on June 20, while Atul Gupta's son Shashank on June 22. The high-profile wedding was attended by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, yoga guru Ramdev, while actor Katrina Kaif performed at the wedding.
Uttarakhand has bore the brunt of the climate crisis when the it faced the unprecedented Himalayan floods in 2013. On the intervening night of June16-17, 2013 flash floods triggered by heavy rains in major rivers left over 4,000 persons dead across five districts.
Ukhimath Tehsil in Rudraprayag district was the most hit. It has 247 villages and a population of 65,000. But after the tragedy 584 people from 60 villages died leaving more than 296 widows to non-healing pain.
(With agency inputs)