Coconut palm declared State tree of Goa
Under pressure from allies in the government over a year after de-classifying the coconut palm as a tree during its earlier stint, the BJP-led coalition Cabinet here on Wednesday passed an amendment restoring the coconut palm in the list of trees and also according it the status of State tree. “The State government has decided to include coconut palm as tree in the Goa, Daman and Diu (Preservation of ) Trees Act, 1984 to regulate felling of coconut trees under this Act,” the Cabinet note on Wednesday stated. The State Cabinet which met here on Wednesday also resolved to declare the coconut tree as the “State tree”. Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party, who had taken the initiative in this regard said the new amendment would be ratified in the State Legislative assembly during the ongoing monsoon session. “We have restored tree status to the coconut (palm),” Mr. Sardesai said. The Opposition as well as civil society had questioned the previous BJP-led coalition government for amending the Goa Daman and Diu (Preservation of )Trees act 1984 in 2016 to drop the tree status accorded to the coconut tree. Opponents of the government, which then included Goa Forward Party led by Mr. Sardesai, had accused the government of unfairly hastening real estate and industrial development at the cost of environment by selectively allowing mass removal of coconut plantations.