Hailstorm damages fruit crops in Kashmir parts

Hailstorm damages fruit crops in Kashmir parts
Hailstorm damages fruit crop in several parts of Kashmir [GK/File Photo]

Hailstorm and thundershowers lashed parts of Kashmir on Saturday even as inclement weather for the last few days has badly damaged Valley's horticulture and agricultural produce causing huge loss to farmers.

Summer capital Srinagar and several parts of central Kashmir witnessed hailstorm on Saturday evening which lasted for several minutes, while rains continued to lash parts of Kashmir till late night.

Speaking with the Greater Kashmir, Director Horticulture, Kashmir, Aijaz Ahmad Bhat said that the extent of loss caused to horticulture produce due to hailstorm was "around 40 per cent in some of the badly affected parts of Handwara and Kulgam". However, Bhat said the final loss assessment was yet to be made. 

"We are assessing the losses on daily basis. As and when we get reports of hailstorm, the departmental teams are rushed to the affected areas. We have been issuing advisories and guiding orchardists about how to manage and minimise further damage," Bhat said.

It may be mentioned that a strong hailstorm that lasted for several minutes on Friday afternoon wreaked havoc with the apple orchards in villages of Handwara in north Kashmir's Kupwara district.

The hailstorm caused damage to orchards and walnut trees in many villages of Handwara including Mawer, Qaziabad, Rajwar and Ramhall. It damaged crops and walnut trees as well, while causing huge damage to other standing crops.

Last week, the hailstorm which lasted for around 15 to 20 minutes had spelt doom to apple, cherry, apricot and peach fruits in scores of villages in Shopian and Kulgam districts. In Shopian, villages including  Kanjiullar, Check Kachdora, Vehil, Wangam bore the brunt of hailstorm while Nehama, Lakhdipora, Bathipora and Chugalpora were worst affected in Kulgam. 

Meanwhile, as per Meteorological department, summer capital Srinagar received more than 2.5 millimetre rainfall during last 24 hours, Gulmarg 1 mm, Qazigund 1.6 mm, Pahalgam 5.2 mm, Kupwara 0.7 mm, Kokernag 3.6 mm, Banihal 5.6 mm, Batote 5 mm and Bhaderwah 19.2 mm till 5:30 pm on Saturday. 

The advisory issued by the Meteorological Department has said that "due to moisture incursion from Arabian sea, there is possibility of moderate rain with thunder, lightning and gusty winds over most places of J&K and few places of Ladakh on May 19 and 20".

"There is also a possibility of heavy rain particularly over Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Reasi, Doda, and Ramban districts during May 20," an official forecast of the Meteorological department said. 

The MeT forecast said there was also possibility of light rain and thundershower accompanied with lightning and gusty winds and hailstorm at few places of J&K during the weekend.

(With inputs from Tarique Raheem in Kupwara, Gulzar Bhat in Shopian)

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