Panaji, Aug 2 (IANS) More than a year after de-classifying the coconut palm as a tree, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition cabinet in Goa on Wednesday passed an amendment to include the coconut palm in the tree list and declared it as a “state tree”.

“The state government has decided to include coconut palm as a tree in the Goa, Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act, 1984, to regulate felling of coconut trees under the act,” a cabinet note said.

The cabinet also resolved to declare the coconut tree as the “state tree”.

Speaking to reporters, Goa Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai said the new amendment would be ratified in the legislative assembly during the ongoing monsoon session of the house. “We have reverted tree status to the coconut (palm),” Sardesai added.

The opposition as well as the civil society had repeatedly accused the previous BJP-led coalition government in Goa of favouring real estate and industrial development at the cost of environment by amending the Goa Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act, 1984, in 2016 and dropping the status of “tree” accorded to the coconut tree.

The reclassification of coconut tree as a ‘palm’ faciltated its axeing since state laws made felling of ‘trees’ difficult, the critics of the government had maintained.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.