A coconut tree won’t be considered as a ‘tree’ in Goa anymore, according to the recent amendments made to the Goa, Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act, 1984.
At a recent state cabinet meeting, chaired by state chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar, it was decided that to delete Section 1-A, and include the word ‘coconut’ in section 12A, which deals with the removal of trees, which are in ruinous state or likely to fall. The cabinet note said:
“During the amendment of Goa Preservation of Trees Act during 2008, Section 1A was inserted in the Act to include provision for removing and disposing of trees which pose imminent danger to life or property. The provisions of the original Act were not applicable to coconut tree, and was brought under the purview of the Act in 2008 by insertion of Section 1-A regarding definition of term tree and Section 12 A regarding removal of trees etc which are in ruinous state or likely to fall.”
“Though the amendment was intended to include coconut tree only for this specified section of the Act all the other provisions of the Act became applicable due to lack of adequate clarity. Hence it is now propose to delete Section 1-A and include coconut trees in Section 12-A.”
Explaining the government’s decision, forest minister Rajendra Arlekar said that it was done to solve problems, like coconut tree endangering a house or human life, a common problem in Goa.
The decision would only be implemented if the amendments are passed in the Assembly.
“I am moving an amendment bill in the forthcoming winter Assembly session to amend the act,” said Arlekar.
But, the opposition has alleged that the move was taken to benefit industrial and real estate lobbies.
It was reported that a company Vani Argo
, which was allowed to open a distillery in southern part of Goa, won’t have to seek government permission to remove trees for that purpose.
The move has created furor across the state with many environmentalist and other parties leaders opposing it.
Independent MLA Vijai Sardesai had said that he would launch a state-wide agitation if the government does not reverse its cabinet decision.
“Coconut is the identity of Goa and the BJP government is all out to destroy our identity and Goenkarponn,” said Sardesai.
Environmentalist Claude Alvares of the Goa Foundation said:
“Nobody seems to be bothered about climate change. Half of Goa is covered with coconut trees. If it is not a tree, what is it, a grass?”
Protest against the government decision heraldgoa
Another environmentalist fears that this decision will allow large-scale slaughter of trees