Bill proposes to lift obligation to plant coconut trees; if cut

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 13 January 2016 10:34 IST

The controversial bill of tree preservation finally limits its scope to cut coconut trees only in ruinous state while lifting all other obligations it earlier had regarding coconut trees in normal condition.

As presented by forest minister Rajendra Arlekar, the amendment would empower to cut coconut trees without even making it obligatory to plant same number of trees, the rule which applies to all other trees.

The bill presented in the House yesterday does not delete coconut from the definition of tree, but limits it only to those coconut trees which are in ruinous condition or likely to fall.

It proposes that the word ‘coconut’ would be included in section 12 A, which lays down procedures to cut all the trees which are in ruinous condition or likely to fall.

Since coconut botanically does not fall in the definition of a tree (a woody plant whose branches spring from the trunk), the Congress government in 2008 had added coconut to the definition of tree with special amendment.

Due to this, the word coconut applied to the whole act and the rules and regulations laid down in the act to preserve trees.

It also includes section 10, which deals with ‘obligation to plant trees,’ which will now not apply to coconut trees.

 

As per this section, “every person who is granted permission to fell or dispose of any tree, shall be bound to plant/replant such number and kind of trees in the area.”

This obligation would not apply to coconut trees now, since the word ‘coconut’ will now appear in the act only in section 12 A, which deals with trees in ruinous state or likely to fall.

The new amendment however deletes a major provision it had earlier, empowering the tree officer to permit the owner to plant less number of trees in a different area or exempt the owner from planting trees, when trees are cut in any particular area.

The amendment bill has also increased the amount of compounding fee from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 for committing offence under this act.

Similarly, the penalty on conviction has also been raised from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh while maintaining imprisonment of one year. 

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Preserve all the coconut tress and break all the 40 coconuts sitting in the Goa assembly.

- d.jUSTIN, Goa | 13 th January 2016 19:08

 

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