Goa Amendment On Coconut Tree Wrong, Legally Untenable: Panel

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Goa Amendment On Coconut Tree Wrong, Legally Untenable: Panel

A Parliamentary panel on Saturday termed as "wrong" the Goa government's decision to classify coconut as 'palm' instead of 'tree'.


Panaji:  A Parliamentary panel on Saturday termed as "wrong" the Goa government's decision to classify coconut as 'palm' instead of 'tree' and sought Centre's intervention in the matter even as it observed that the amendment to this effect won't stand legal scrutiny.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forest, headed by Rajya Sabha MP Ashwani Kumar, also noted that there was ambiguity in the legislation regarding the description of coconut tree and palm.

"It was noted that classifying coconut as 'palm' is a wrong decision, which is not in favour of protection of the fruit. Coconut has given so much to Goa, and one cannot play with its preservation," a committee member said.

The panel expects the Central government to intervene and make the state government withdraw the amendment, he said.

Goa Legislative Assembly last month passed the Goa, Daman and Diu Preservation of Tree Act reclassifying coconut tree as a palm.

"The net effect of this amendment to Tree Preservation Act is if it (coconut) is not grass and not tree then what is it? If absence of description of a particular species leads to its destruction, then surely the law needs to change (sic)," Ashwani Kumar told reporters.

The amendment allowing felling of coconut trees without permission has fuelled a debate as coconut (Cocos nucifera) belongs to the Arecaceae (palm) family whereas palms do not grow branches.

"...Therefore, we tried to understand the situation. If you make a classification of this kind, it is unlikely to stand judicial scrutiny," he said.

The panel held deliberations for over four hours on various issues, including classification of coconut; violations in Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ); environmental impact due to mining industry and recently formed Investment Promotion Board (IPB).


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