Coconut trees no longer considered trees in Indian state of Goa

PANAJI, India - Coconut trees are no longer considered trees in the tropical Indian state of Goa, where authorities have reclassified them as palms to allow farmers to cut them down more easily.

See Full Article

Officials said they dropped the cocus nucifer from Goa's official list of trees in order to help coconut farmers cull old or ailing stands without having to deal with red tape. But environmentalists and the state's opposition lawmakers are incensed, and accuse the state of catering to industry and developers.

"The move will not benefit farmers as much as it will help real estate and corporate interests chop coconut groves for development of plots and setting up industrial units," opposition legislator Vijai Sardesai said.

The state's forest minister, Rajendra Arlekar, defended the decision to amend a 1984 law forbidding the felling of certain trees without permission, saying coconut trees shouldn't have been listed at all.

"We have only corrected the anomaly in the act," Arkelar told state assembly members last week.

Goa produced more than 1 million coconuts in 2013 from groves sprawling over 25,000 hectares (62,000 acres) in the western resort state, a holiday hotspot known for its sandy beaches lined with the iconic, swaying palms.

Even before the coconut tree became a background fixture for tourist photos it was an important part of local lore thanks to the usefulness that earned it the Sanskrit name of kalpvruksha, which means "a tree that fulfils all desires."

Pulp scraped from coconut shells is an essential ingredient in the region's traditional fish curries and meat stews. The sap from the trunk, known as toddy, is a popular drink, while fermented toddy is used as a yeast substitute in baking, and distilled toddy is a favoured brew. Many homes also use the hollowed shell as a serving ladle. They weave the fronds into roof mats and use the sturdy wood to build homes.

"If permission is not needed to cut coconut trees, then naturally there will be more concrete," environment activist Claude Alvares said.

Environmentalists along with several local media outlets demanded that the state's coalition government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party, reverse the decision.

In an editorial Tuesday, Goa's Herald newspaper accused Modi's party of being "lost in the woods" and said those who will benefit most from the reclassification "are those who want to build huge housing estates and hotels and establish breweries and beer factories."

The state's highest elected official, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, said he was not worried about coconut groves disappearing.

"We Goans love coconut trees. We will never cut them," he told the Associated Press. "Those who are opposing the amendment ... are resorting to emotional blackmail."



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • China blocks online broadcast of computer Go match

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BEIJING -- Internet users outside China watched a computer defeat its national Go champion, but few Chinese web surfers could see it. Censors blocked access to Tuesday's online broadcast by Google, which organized the game in a town west of Shanghai during a forum on artificial intelligence. Source
  • Scientists may have found out why whales are so big

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Scientists think they have answered a whale of a mystery: How the ocean creatures got so huge so quickly. A few million years ago, the largest whales, averaged maybe 15 feet long. Source
  • Canadian students win big at robotics world championship

    Tech & Science CTV News
    For the second time in 15 years, Canadian students excelled at a global robotics competition. Toronto’s Bayview Glen School came in first out of 32,000 teams at the FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology) LEGO League world festival, held in St. Source
  • Egypt moves bed, chariot of King Tut to new museum

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAIRO -- Egypt has safely transported two unique items, a funerary bed and a chariot belonging to the famed pharaoh King Tutankhamun from a museum in central Cairo to a new one on the other side of the city. Source
  • Flood prediction, climate change impacts on water studied at new Canmore lab

    Tech & Science CBC News
    At a new research lab in Canmore, Alta., scientists are studying the impact of climate change on water, glaciers and snow, and developing tools to predict and warn people about future floods. The Coldwater Laboratory, led by John Pomeroy, recently moved from the Barrier Lake Field Station in Kananaskis Country to the Bow Valley. Source
  • Battery boast, better viewing angles for refreshed Microsoft Surface

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Microsoft is refreshing its Surface Pro tablet with longer battery life and faster processors. The new, fifth-generation device — simply called Surface Pro — won’t look or feel drastically different from its predecessor. But Microsoft is hoping its under-the-hood improvements will help it compete with newer laptop-tablet hybrids from Samsung and others. Source
  • Trump budget cuts funding for clean air and water programs

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The Trump Administration budget released Tuesday slashes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by nearly one-third, laying off thousands of employees while imposing dramatic cuts to clean air and water programs. The White House's proposed spending plan for the EPA amounts to less than $5.7 billion, a 31 per cent cut from the current budget year, according to a briefing provided in advance to the media. Source
  • Spacewalking astronauts tackle urgent station repairs

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Spacewalking astronauts are making urgent repairs at the International Space Station. Commander Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer went out Tuesday morning, three days after a critical relay box abruptly stopped working. Source
  • Spacewalking astronauts pull off urgent station repairs

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Spacewalking astronauts completed urgent repairs at the International Space Station on Tuesday, replacing equipment that failed three days earlier and restoring a backup for a vital data-relay system. It took commander Peggy Whitson much longer than expected to install the spare unit. Source
  • Mudlarking: History buffs dig up priceless treasures along London's River Thames

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Sift through the mud on the shores of a Canadian river and you'd be lucky to find a lost necklace amid the washed-up bottle caps and beer cans. But take a walk along the edge of London's River Thames, and there's a good chance you'll find a piece of ancient history. Source