The land of sun, sand and beaches may soon consider the coconut palm a tree again, if an assurance given by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who took oath as Goa CM Tuesday, is fulfilled.
Under the previous Baratiya Janata Party-led government, the coconut palm was declassified as a tree, a move that was criticised by the Oposition and the civil society.
On Tuesday, during a chat with reporters after being sworn-in as CM, Parrikar was questioned if he would reclassify the coconut palm as a tree.
"Vijai (Goa Forward Party mentor Vijai Sardesai) has already conveyed to me his anxiety over that issue and I have told him that it is a very minor issue and we would do the necessary amendment," Parrikar said.
Goa Forward's poll symbol, interestingly, is a coconut.
'DOES NOT HAVE BRANCHES'
During Laxikant Parsekar's run as chief minister, Goa's Environment and Forest Ministry had removed the coconut plan from the definition of a tree, and reportedly justified the decision arguing that since the palm did not have any branches, it should be considered as a plant and not a tree.
The decision was slammed, with the Opposition and civil society accusing the BJP-led coalition government attempting to quicken real estate and industrial development at the cost of environment.
Vijai Sardesai, then an opposition MLA had accused the government and then Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar of trying to destroy Goa and its natural heritage by reducing coconut palms to the status of grass.
In the run up to the 2017 assembly elections, Sardesai, as a Goa Forward candidate had led an anti-BJP campaign, before eventually joining a BJP-led coalition government. He was inducted into the Parrikar-led cabinet as minister along with eight others on Tuesday.
Parsekar, along with six of the eight previous BJP ministers, lost his re-election bid.
(With inputs from IANS)