Say no to coconut tree law: Wendell Rodricks urges Goa governor

Panaji, Jan 28 (IANS) Civil society representatives led by Goa-based fashion designer Wendell Rodricks on Thursday met Governor Mridula Sinha and requested her to not give assent to a controversial amendment derecognising the coconut palm as a tree.

Speaking to reporters outside Raj Bhavan, Rodricks said the amendment was passed by the BJP-led coalition government with “ulterior motives”.

“The relationship of Goa and the coconut tree is of great significance. This bill was passed hurriedly in the Goa legislative assembly to facilitate golf courses and setting up of a distillery, which would require large scale cutting of coconut tree plantations,” he said.

Rodricks was accompanied by advocate Caroline Collaco and Aam Aadmi Party leader Valmiki Naik.

“The governor assured us that she would speak to Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar as she has received several petitions similar to ours demanding that the coconut palm should be described as a tree,” Rodricks said.

Activist Prajal Sakhardande, who was a part of a ‘coconut chipko’ campaign that involves activists hugging coconut trees meant for felling, also met the governor and requested her to advise the state government to undo the amendment.

During the winter session of the assembly, the government passed an amendment to the Goa, Daman and Diu Protection of Trees Act, 1984, to formally derecognise the coconut palm as a tree.

The move triggered a lot of criticism, from political parties as well as from the civil society, both in India and abroad.

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