PANAJI: The Goa Legislative Assembly today passed a bill which reclassifies coconut as a `tree', ensuring legal protection for it.
Goa Forward Party, a partner in the Manohar Parrikar-led government, had promised to reclassify coconut.
The previous Laxmikant Parsekar-led government had changed classification of coconut tree to a `palm'.
However, the decision kicked up a controversy as green activists claimed that it would make it easy to cut down coconut trees indiscriminately in the coastal state as it would require no formal permission.
The Assembly, on the last day of Monsoon session today, passed the Goa, Daman and Diu (Preservation of) Trees Act, 1984 to regulate felling of coconut trees and reclassify it as tree.
"Our government has kept the promise," said Agriculture Minister and GFP president Vijai Sardesai.