Snowfall aftermath: 60% loss to citrus crop in Bhadarwah

Greater Kashmir

The recent snowfall in this picturesque town of Doda district has led to loss of at least 60 percent citrus crop, an official said on Monday.

Apart from Bhadarwah, Kellar, Pranoo, Shiva, Bhallesa, Dessa, Chatroo and Marmat received heavy snowfall between Thursday and Sunday.

“Nearly 60 percent of the citrus crop has been lost in the latest snowfall,” said Horticulture Development Officer, Aabid Hussain Tantray.

It is after several years that Chenab region witnessed heavy snowfall in November and the ongoing month.

Though the snowfall brought cheers to the tourism industry players, it created havoc in orchards.

Meanwhile, many rural areas of Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar districts of Chenab region continue to reel under darkness for the 4th straight day as the power supply lines were damaged in the snowfall. Locals also complained about shortage of water supply.

“We didn’t expect such heavy snowfall. We tried over best to save our crop but overnight snowfall damaged 70 percent of our orchards. There are heaps of fallen and unripe lemon, sweet lemon and oranges in our orchards,” said Sheikh Mohammad Shafi of Bharoa-Bhadarwah, a grower.

He said since the harvesting season starts from January 15 the damage was intense.

“We have invested more than 10 years in growing our orchard. For the past five years our family is totally dependent on the income from the citrus crop. But, everything is lost now. We have suffered a damage of 75 percent to our crop,” said Surinder Kumar of Gajoth-Kellar village.

Parveen Khan of Gatha village said people remained awake for entire night to save their orchards for the last three days.

“But despite our hectic efforts the nature’s fury led to the devastation,” he said. “It is horrifying to see the large-scale devastation in our orchards. I couldn’t gather courage to collect the fallen crop,” he said.

He said Bhaderwah, Kellar, Pranoo and Shiva areas of Doda were the leading producer of the sweet lemon in J&K, contributing 45 percent of the total yield.