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

  • Researchers to look at ways of mitigating impact of Arctic oil spills

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- Ottawa and the Manitoba government have announced $4 million in funding for a large-scale research project aimed at helping Canadian companies and agencies be better prepared to mitigate the environmental impact of Arctic oil spills. Source
  • Photos, romance novels inspire computer program's one-of-a-kind songs

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Can an artificial intelligence learn to write songs like a human artist? That's the question researchers at the University of Toronto are trying to tackle, using a library of romance novels and images as inspiration for their computer program. Source
  • Eugene Cernan, last astronaut to walk on moon, dead at 82

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Eugene Cernan, the last astronaut to walk on the moon, an experience that he said made him "belong to the universe," died on Monday at the age of 82, the U.S. space agency said. Cernan, who was also the second man to walk in space, died surrounded by his family, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said in a statement without providing details. Source
  • Text 911 for help? CRTC holds hearing on upgrading emergency services

    Tech & Science CBC News
    You may one day be able to text 911 for help, send a photo, or even share video of a bad guy fleeing a scene. The next generation of 911 services is the subject of a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearing that started Monday. Source
  • Gene Cernan, last astronaut on the moon, dies at 82

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Former astronaut Gene Cernan, the last person to walk on the moon who returned to Earth with a message of "peace and hope for all mankind," died on Monday in Texas following ongoing heath issues, his family said. Source
  • Tecla Shield helps people with physical impairments use mobile devices

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — Mauricio Meza says the problem with using traditional assisted devices for communication is they're expensive and don't always work well. “The kind of device Stephen Hawking uses to communicate (costs) $10,000,” the CEO of Toronto tech start-up Komodo OpenLab Inc. Source
  • Why a Canadian teen joined American youth in suing U.S. over climate change

    Tech & Science CBC News
    All his life, Jacob Lebel has felt a special connection to the land, in rural Quebec where he was born and in Eugene, Ore., where he now lives and farms. Lebel, 19, is passionate about preserving the environment and doing what is necessary to prevent climate change. Source
  • Yukon home to 1st traces of humans in North America 24,000 years ago, research suggests

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Humans may have been living in Yukon's Bluefish Caves 10,000 years earlier than previously thought, new research from the University of Montreal suggests. If confirmed, this would make it the oldest known archeological site in North America, representing the earliest evidence found so far of humans in North America. Source
  • Chin up! Blue Monday is not the saddest day of the year

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A specialist in suicide prevention with Horizon Health says too much is made of Blue Monday, which popular culture suggests is the most depressing day of the year. By early January, references to Blue Monday were already popping up on social media, some as offers of support to people expecting to feel sad on the third Monday of January. Source
  • Academics work to preserve millions of colonial documents in Cuba

    Tech & Science CTV News
    HAVANA -- An American team of academics is racing to preserve millions of Cuban historical documents before they are lost to the elements and poor storage conditions. Many of the documents shed light on the slave trade, an integral part of Cuba's colonial history that was intertwined with that of the United States. Source