Auli

Feature

Toxic Ash Cloud Hangs Over Indian Ski Resort As Clean Up Takes Place After Massive £23m Wedding

A massive wedding with a reputed price tag of around $29m US (£23m) staged at an Indian ski resort is reported to have turned in to an environmental disaster in its aftermath, according to reports in Indian media.

The wedding at the Auli ski area in the Indian Himalayas, a location known for its stunning natural beauty, was arranged by South Africa-based businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta for their sons Suryakant, son of Ajay and Shashank, son of Atul, took place over five days in Auli from June 18th to 22nd.

The problems came to light when it came to the clean up after the weddings, when it was found a reported a total of 32,100kg of waste was found to have been left behind, including a large amount of human waste, as it is reported only six toilets were provided for the hundreds of workers and staff, and that the outflow for the other toilets had leaks.

A lot of the waste has now been incinerated but this has led to a reported ‘toxic ash cloud’ hanging over the resort, and it has also been pointed out that the main area of incineration is next to the water course for one of the two main tributaries of the Ganges river. Local farmer are also claiming at least nine cattle have died after eating plastic and broken glass left behind.

There had been legal challenges to the staging of the weddings before it happened, with some officials saying staging it would set a dangerous precedent, and the Gupta family had been asked to put down a deposit with local authorities of around $430,000 / £343,000 and banned from using plastic or glass products but from the waste left this does not appear to have been adhered to.  It is yet to be determined whether the deposit will be repaid.

The Gupta family is reported to have initially deposited the equivalent of £630 with the local municipality towards the clean-up operation but has also said it will pay the entire cost.

Auli is one of India’s leading ski areas and a former host of the Asian Winter Games. It is popular year-round for the stunning beauty of its location and provides breath-taking views of several Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Kamet, Mana Parvat and Dunagiri.

Following the widespread publicity of the wedding and its aftermath in Indian media the local municipality that includes Auli has set it will set up its first waste processing and recycling centre.