According to Goan Environment Minister botanically coconut has been classified as a palm and not a tree. (Representational image)
Goa government today defended its decision to delete coconut tree from the purview of 'tree' and classify it as 'palm' under Goa Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act, 1984, saying classifying it as tree in the past was an error.
"Coconut tree was included in the list of trees by error in year 2008. We have amended the Act only to correct it," state Environment Minister Rajendra Arlekar told reporters responding to the widespread criticism of government's decision to reclassify coconut tree.
The minister said botanically coconut has been classified as a palm and not a tree. Mr Arlekar ruled out apprehensions that the move may encourage rampant cutting of coconut trees.
"Coconut tree is close to the heart of Goans. They will never allow it to be cut. The tree does not require any protection of law when traditionally it has been so close to the livelihood of the people," he said.
Mr Arlekar said the decision was taken after proper deliberations and that there has been a discussion on the issue in the Legislative Assembly session in the past.