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

  • In Egypt, archeologists find part of 4,000-year-old statue

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAIRO -- Egypt says archeologists have discovered the head of a wooden statue, likely belonging to a female regent who ruled the country more than 4,000 years ago. Wednesday's statement by the Antiquities Ministry says the artifact was found in the district of Saqqara, near the ancient Pyramids of Giza. Source
  • Scientists may have found a cause of dyslexia

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A duo of French scientists said Wednesday they may have found a physiological, and seemingly treatable, cause for dyslexia hidden in tiny light-receptor cells in the human eye. In people with the reading disability, the cells were arranged in matching patterns in both eyes, which may be to blame for confusing the brain by producing "mirror" images, the co-authors wrote in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Source
  • Lego unveils 'Women of NASA' set with astronauts, scientists

    Tech & Science CTV News
    ENFIELD, Conn. - Lego has unveiled a set of figures celebrating the women of NASA. The 231-piece set features Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, and Mae Jemison, the first black woman to travel in space. Source
  • Google Maps calorie feature yanked out of concern for users with eating disorders

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TORONTO -- A mental health advocate says Google made the right decision to shut down a calorie count feature in its map application that critics said could be damaging to users with eating disorders. The tech company confirmed via email Tuesday that it disabled the function Monday night due to "strong user feedback. Source
  • Why seeing a star crash is a 'watershed moment in astrophysics'

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Scientists have followed gravitational waves to something they've never seen before — the collision of two exotic objects called neutron stars. By observing a fleeting star-like object in the sky in August, they've learned a lot of new things about the universe worth clinking glasses over. Source
  • Smartphone makers duking it out with high-tech features

    Tech & Science CTV News
    The front lines of the battle for smartphone dominance over the coming years have grown clearer after Chinese technology firm Huawei presented an AI-powered phone designed to go head-to-head with Samsung and Apple. Features needed to propel a device into the top end are growing increasingly complex and expensive to develop, meaning only the companies with the deepest expertise and pockets can hope to compete. Source
  • Google offers heightened security for 'high-risk' users

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Google said Tuesday it would offer stronger online security for "high risk" users who may be frequent targets of online attacks. The U.S. technology titan said anyone with a personal Google account can enroll in the new "advanced protection," while noting that it will require users to "trade off a bit of convenience" for extra security. Source
  • Researchers call for offshore oil action as Newfoundland seabirds vanish

    Tech & Science CTV News
    ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- Millions of seabirds have vanished since offshore oil production started off Newfoundland 20 years ago, and researchers say there's an urgent need to better monitor related environmental effects. They say a colony of small nocturnal birds called Leach's storm petrels has shrunk dramatically. Source
  • Angler nearly dies after swallowing fish he was trying to kiss

    Tech & Science CBC News
    more stories from this episodeThere's nothing neutral about Quebec's religious neutrality bill, Muslim advocate says Angler nearly dies after swallowing fish he was trying to kissFull Episode Sam Quilliam is lucky to be alive. Source
  • Microsoft rolls out new Windows 10 update and laptops

    Tech & Science CTV News
    In this Thursday, May 11, 2017, file photo, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, speaks at the Microsoft Build 2017 developers conference, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) Source