Goa Govt plans to bring holistic Coconut Protection Act

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 11 January 2016 23:00 IST

Dismissing allegations of the opposition, Goa government plans to bring in a holistic legislation for the protection of coconut trees.

Environment and Forest Minister, who is proposing amendments to the Preservation of Trees act, will take initiative to bring a new act – Coconut Protection Act.

Arlekar read the news report of goanews.com quoting coconut trader Uday Mhambro and contacted him immediately to get the details of the Coconut Protection Act he had proposed.

“He has already given me two such acts of Philippines and Kenya. We would study the issue and bring in this legislation as fast as possible”, Arlekar later told goanews.com.

Mhambro, also a coconut grower from Savoi Verem, had supported government’s move to delete earlier inclusion of ‘coconut’ in the definition of tree since the act was not allowing to replace the less-productive coconut trees.

During Congress regime in 2008, two amendments were made to the act, out of which Section 1 A said the definition of trees also includes coconut.

Arlekar said this was included in context with Section 12 A – the second amendment – which primarily dealt with “Removal of trees, etc., which are in ruinous state or likely to fall”.

However, since Section 1 A also included coconut in the definition of tree, it applied to the whole act rather than only section 12 A, which created problems for the coconut growers, he said.

 

In order to remove this anomaly, Arlekar says the word coconut would be now removed by deleting section 1 A, but would be included in Section 12 A, where the procedures of cutting the coconut trees  is being laid down by making the deputy collector the authority.

“I am not concerned whether coconut is a tree or palm or grass, I am more concerned about the problems faced by the coconut growers, who have to approach the forest department for anything to do with the coconut tree”, said the minister, who is also Pernem MLA.

He has thus welcomed the suggestion made by Uday Mhambro and working on preparing a legislation to give total protection to coconut trees in Goa.

He also dismissed the opposition argument that the amendments are brought in to allow cutting of coconut trees for the benefit of any particular industry.

“Once the land use is changed from agriculture to residential or commercial, the converted land is governed by the Town and Country Planning Act and there are enough provisions to take care of illegal cutting of trees in the TCP act”, claims Arlekar.

He said merely amending the Preservation of Trees Act cannot give blanket permission to cut coconut trees in the commercial zone, thus the allegation is baseless. 

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Rubbish! People elect government and not coconut trees.

Also isn't Uday himself a coconut trader and using government's coercive power to profit for himself ? How is he different from the greedy/evil miners ?

People are not some dumb jerks who want to cut coconut trees for fun. People cut coconut trees when better economic alternatives exist. For example to build real estate or to grow some other trees.

Should we keep Goans poor by giving more importance to Coconut tree and traders like Uday ?

- Aryan, Panaji | 12 th January 2016 07:33

 

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