Panaji, Feb 19 (IANS) A legislative change in Goa that takes away the tree status of the coconut has been brought about to favour a liquor distillery, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said on Friday.
“The ruling BJP government is out to attack environment in Goa. They have brought in the law which denied protected tree status to the coconut palm to facilitate setting up of a liquor distillery in South Goa,” Singh told reporters here.
Singh is the All India Congress Committee general secretary in charge of the state.
The Opposition and the civil society have accused the BJP-led coalition government of paving the way for real estate and industrial development at the cost of environment by amending the Goa, Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act 1984.
Passed last month, the amendment takes away the coconut palm’s status as a tree.
The amendment would enable coconut farmers to cull old and non-productive coconut palms without red-tape, the government has claimed.
The real reason, alleges Singh, is a coconut grove on the plot of land on which the liquid distillery has been planned to be built, which the amendment will help clear.
The parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, environment and forest also criticised the amendment and asked the state government to review it.