A change in law in Goa, allowing farmers to fell old coconut trees which threaten homes and cultivated areas, has kicked off a storm with voices for and against the tree’s reclassification from protected to non-protected status.
- The passage of The Goa Preservation of Trees (Amendment) Bill relocated the coconut tree from Section 1 (a) to Section 12 (a) of the The Goa, Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act.
- Minister for Environment Rajendra Arlekar said the amendment was necessary since farmers in the state were finding it difficult to cut old coconut trees because these came under Section 1 (a) and were under the protection of the Forest Act.
- In areas with scores of coconut trees, multi-crore projects are coming up in the guise of eco-tourism, agro-based industry and distillery units. With the publication of the amendment in Goa’s official gazette, they have a free hand to destroy coconut trees.