‘Chipko Coconut’ begins, activists/MLAs block national highway

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 11 January 2016 15:58 IST

Heritage activists along with opposition politicians have started replicating the famous Chipko movement, by holding coconut trees in arms while protesting against deletion of coconut from the list of trees.

Around 50 activists along with four legislators and politicians today morning staged Chipko agitation at Guirim on Panaji-Mapusa road and then blocked the national highway for almost 45 minutes.

Congress MLA Alex Reginald Lourenco along with three independents – Vijai Sardesai, Rohan Khaunte and Naresh Sawal participated in the protest led by heritage activist Prajal Sakhardande.

Also joined them were former union law minister Ramakant Khalap, National Congress Party leader Trajano D’Mello and Goa Suraj Party leader Florian Lobo besides other political activists like GenNext president Durgadas Kamat.

It was one-line demand: Don’t delete coconut from the Goa, Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees  Act, 1984.

The Bharatiya Janata Party government is moving an amendment to delete Section 1-A from the Act, which was inserted by the Congress government in 2008, stating that the definition of tree also includes coconut.

Sardesai alleged that the deletion is aimed at allowing an upcoming breweries project in Sanguem to cut hundreds of coconut trees and a conspiracy of the BJP government to wipe out identity of coconut from Goa.

Prajal Sakhardande, the heritage activist, also alleged that a builder-government nexus is behind wiping out from Goa the coconut, which is heritage and identity of Goa.

Forest minister Rajendra Arlekar however states that coconut is being deleted from the Act since coconut is not a tree but a palm, thus want to correct the error.

Uday Mhambro, a coconut grower and trader, states that the Preservation of Trees Act deals only with forest tree while coconut – like beatlenut, cashew, mango etc – is not a forest tree and its deletion from this act would bring a sigh of relief to the farmers, who grow vegetation trees in their Kullagar.

The activists who gathered to block to the national highway however stuck to their stand and demanded resignations of Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar as well as Forest Minister Arlekar.

As traffic was blocked from both the sides and vehicles lined up till Mapusa and Porvorim, Mapusa deputy collector Pundalik Khorjuvenkar had to come walking to the spot along with other officials to clear the road.

The activists and opposition politicians have threatened to intensify the agitation if the amendment is passed in the Assembly.

The activists, as told by Sakhardande, belonged to Goa Heritage Group, Goans’ Movement for Special Status, History History Forum, Goa Forgiving and Goans for Education. 

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Previous Comments

So all the flop political parties phony historians and heritage suckers protesting against a non consequential government order ?

Good for everyone if these people are busy into such protests.

- Aryan, Panaji | 26 th January 2016 08:03

 

These people are jerks. This is not a chipko movement these people are not hugging trees but blocking a national highway. If law and order exists haul them to jail please.

- Aryan, Panaji | 12 th January 2016 07:36

 

Why don't these Andolwaadi blocking roads and creating problems to general people? can they not do the andolan without causing problems to public.

- Ronald, goa | 11 th January 2016 16:50

 

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