If you haven’t heard about the latest Gupta weddings in Auli, you might not understand the true reason behind this new insertion of mandatory green tax for tourists that is likely to happen soon! Backpackers, pilgrimage tourists and even those of you planning a huge wedding ceremony with the scenic mountains of Uttarakhand in the background, this tax might be paid by all when imposed.
Even though the final decision is yet to be announced, the said amount collected from this tax will be used for the welfare and maintenance of Uttarakhand and will also contribute to certain eco-friendly practices that will be carried on here.
The Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board has distinctly raised the issue of constant rise in pollution by the tourists in a meeting with Harak Singh Rawat, the Forest and Environment Minister. More than a week was spent clearing the waste materials from the ecologically-sensitive zone in Uttarakhand where the Gupta weddings took place in Auli.
Based in South Africa, wedding celebrations of two Gupta families from 18th to 20th June and another from 20th to 22nd June have left behind more than 40 quintals of waste, including plastic bottles and cups. The said weddings are said to be of approximately INR 200 Crore and the Nagar Palika Parishad of Joshimath’s supervisor along with 20 other men were assigned the task of clearing this waste. Such waste lying in the open also posed threat to the cows who visit the said region on a regular basis.
Uttarakhand’s economy is mainly boosted by tourism and while in 2018, Uttarakhand High Court had to ask the State Government to take measures for tackling the problem of over-tourism in the state, the recent improper disposal at this wedding event has forced the Board to take further steps. The said tax will only help in sustaining the beauty of this state.
Our environment is our responsibility and even though not all tourists participate in throwing waste around, many don’t participate in environment friendly practices too! May be this is the call, we all had been waiting for to help improve our surroundings and spread more awareness! So, when are you planning your Uttarakhand vacation next?