New Goa party promises ‘state tree’ status to coconut

Panaji, Jan 25 (IANS) Less than a fortnight after Goa changed a law to de-recognise the coconut palm as a tree, a new political party launched here on Monday promised to bestow the status of ‘state tree’ to the palm.

The Goa Forward party, to be headed by former state election commissioner Prabhakar Timble, was formally launched in Panaji.

It promised to abhor junkets for ministers and bureaucrats as a party principle and shun special privileges, both by ministers and bureaucrats.

“We will declare the coconut tree as the state tree and promise that the coconut tree will be brought under the Preservation of Trees Act once again,” Timble said.

During the recently concluded winter session of the Goa assembly, the government passed a controversial amendment to the Goa, Daman and Diu Protection of Trees Act, 1984, to formally de-recognise the coconut palm as a tree.

The move had triggered a lot of criticism from the Opposition, the BJP’s coalition partners as well as from the civil society, both in India and abroad.

The new party’s manifesto also promises imposition of non-occupancy tax to deal with speculative real estate business, pursuit of special status for Goa among others.

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