Coconut trees are 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

  • Meat 2.0? Green meat? War of words over what to call lab-grown meat

    Tech & Science CBC News
    If meat is grown in a lab without slaughtering animals, what should it be called? That question has yet to be decided by regulators, but for the moment it's pitting animal rights advocates and others against cattle ranchers in a war of words. Source
  • Amid outrage over child separations, critics question Microsoft's ties with ICE

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Amid outrage at the separation of children from their asylum-seeking parents crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, a Microsoft partnership with the government agency overseeing the "zero tolerance" policy has come under scrutiny — including backlash from the company's own employees. The Microsoft division responsible for selling cloud computing services to government clients announced in January that it had been certified to handle sensitive data for U.S. Source
  • Theft of mammoth proportions: Agency seeks stolen tusk

    Tech & Science CTV News
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A federal agency in Alaska wants the public's help to solve a mammoth theft. The Bureau of Land Management says someone stole a 45.4-kilogram mammoth tusk from the Campbell Creek Science Center, an interpretive centre in east Anchorage. Source
  • Ottawa overreacting by shutting Fundy fishery after single whale spotted: group

    Tech & Science CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A fishermen's group says the federal government is jumping the gun with a costly fisheries closure in the Bay of Fundy following the sighting of a single North Atlantic right whale. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the area in Grand Manan Basin will be closed to fixed-gear fishing from 11:59 p.m. Source
  • IBM pits 'Project Debater' computer against humans

    Tech & Science CBC News
    IBM pitted a computer against two human debaters in the first public demonstration of artificial intelligence technology it's been working on for more than five years. The company unveiled its Project Debater in San Francisco on Monday, asking it to make a case for government-subsidized space research — a topic it hadn't studied in advance but championed fiercely with just a few awkward gaps in reasoning. Source
  • Canadians sign letter opposing U.S. Arctic drilling in wildlife sanctuary

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Thousands of Canadians are asking American regulators not to allow oil drilling in an Alaskan wildlife sanctuary that is home to a crucial transboundary caribou herd. The request comes in a letter delivered Tuesday, the last day for comments to the U.S. Source
  • Orcas make 2nd rare appearance in Victoria's Inner Harbour

    Tech & Science CBC News
    For the second time in 10 days, transient killer whales have been spotted in Victoria's Inner Harbour. For marine biologist Anna Hall, the appearances are rare, exciting occurrences — but the "why" behind the sightings is a bit of a mystery. Source
  • Allergies, glaciers, and pikas: climate change in action

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- You don't just feel the heat of global warming, you can see it in action all around. Some examples of where climate change's effects have been measured: --Glaciers across the globe are melting and retreating, with 279 billion tons of ice lost since 2002, according to NASA's GRACE satellite. Source
  • Alexa, send up breakfast: Amazon launches Echo for hotels

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Alexa has a new job: hotel concierge. Amazon has launched a version of Alexa for hotels that lets guests order room service through the voice assistant, ask for more towels or get restaurant recommendations without having to pick up the phone and call the front desk. Source
  • IBM pits computer against human debaters

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- IBM pitted a computer against two human debaters in the first public demonstration of artificial intelligence technology it's been working on for more than five years. The company unveiled its Project Debater in San Francisco on Monday, asking it to make a case for government-subsidized space research -- a topic it hadn't studied in advance but championed fiercely with just a few awkward gaps in reasoning. Source