Will Guv give assent to the ‘coconut bill’ or refer it back to the House?

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 04 March 2016 23:11 IST

Will Governor Mridula Sinha give an assent to the controversial ‘coconut bill,’ which has been sent to her 50 days after it was passed?

After passing it on 14 January in the winter session, Goa government sent the controversial Preservation of Trees Amendment Bill to the Raj Bhavan today.

However, even before the bill reached her, she received quite a few delegations, some opposing the bill while some supported.

There was a hue and cry over the bill from the day the cabinet had decided in December last year to amend the act.

In spite of this, the BJP government tabled the bill on 5 January and passed it on 14 January by majority, amidst the opposition staging a walk out.

While the government claimed that the act is amended to help the coconut growers to cut the low-yield coconut trees and plant new ones, opposition alleges that it is amended to allow merciless cutting of coconut trees to benefit industries and real estate.

Some NGOs have however suggested to the Governor that the bill be reframed by redefining the tree under the Indian Forest Act 1927 rather than giving assent to the existing bill.

On the other hand, some farm house owners have urged the governor to immediately complete the process of making it an act as it would free them from the stringent conditions laid down by the forest department while replacing coconut trees.

On the other hand, Goa Forward party and independent MLAs have started Maad Yatra, making it a political issue.

Besides opposition parties, BJP’s alliance partner Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party has also expressed its post-session reservation about the bill that they had supported in the House.

The ruling BJP is thus caught up a tight spot over the bill, due to which it held up the bill for the last 50 days.

Forest Minister Rajendra Arlekar even announced that the government would bring a new coconut protection act shortly.

But Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar later clarified that it may not materialise in the forthcoming budget session, beginning from 14 March.

As coconut is becoming an election issue that may backfire on the ruling party during forthcoming Assembly election, it needs to be seen whether Governor  gives her assent to the bill or sends it back to the House for ‘reconsideration.’

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In no case Govt would make it compulsory to chop off all the cocoanut trees though some NGOs,activists (without activities) and semi politicians want to spread the belief. Therefore let the NGOs n activists instead of kissing cocoanut adopt one rickety, bald, starving n thirst tree. Nourish it and get the harvest of their real activity not roadside decibelgiri.I challenge even if there is one in Goa to do it.

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 05 th March 2016 05:11


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