Panaji, June 19 (IANS) The coconut palm, which was controversially shorn off its tree status in Goa last year, may well become a tree, in fact a state tree, a few months from now, said Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday.
Nearly a year after the then BJP-led coalition government de-recognised the coconut palm as a tree last year, the newly-formed ruling aliance dispensation in Goa, once again headed by the BJP, will endeavour to revert the ‘tree’ status to the iconic palm, according to a Common Minimum Programme released by Parrikar on Monday.
“We will make necessary amendments in the legislation to recognise coconut as a state tree,” Parrikar said at a press conference at his official residence, in presence of representatives from the ruling alliance partners – the Goa Forward and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party.
The Opposition as well as civil society has repeatedly accused the previous BJP-led coalition government of amending the Goa Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act 1984, and dropping the tree status accorded to the coconut tree, to unfairly hasten real estate and industrial development at the cost of environment.
The amendment to the Trees act is likely to be tabled in the assembly when it convenes next month for the budget session.
The CMP also promises to relocate the six offshore casinos operating in the Mandovi river, even as the Opposition has criticised Parrikar for trying to allow a seventh offshore casino in the Mandovi river off Panaji, by the “back door”.