Apple and many other fruit crop suffered significant damage by an intense hailstorm in several villages of south Kashmir's Shopian district on Sunday afternoon.
Scores of villages including Kapran, Vehil, Check Nowgam, Check Kachdoora, Kanjiullar, Dangam, Wangam and Pandushan received hailstorm spelling doom for apple, cherry, apricot and peach fruits.
Adfar Ahmad of Kapran told Greater Kashmir that the hailstorm lasted for around 10 minutes in the village, causing at least 20 to 25 percent damage to various horticulture crops.
Fruit growers from Check Nowgam and Check Kachdora claimed that the hailstorm damaged more than 50 percent of the fruits on the trees in these villages.
"The pellets of hail, which continued to shower for around 15 minutes stripped the apple cherry and apricot trees of their leaves and fruits", said an orchard owner from Check Nowgam.
He said that the hailstorm caused 50 to 55 percent damage to the apple and cherry crop.
More or less similar reports poured in from other villages of the district.
As the horticulture is the mainstay of economy for a large chunk of population in the district, the hailstorm has left the affected farmers in great distress.
"I am in the grip of debts as I have availed several farm loans. Last year I was not able repay them as the scab damaged at least 80 percent of apple crop in the area", said another grower.
The affected growers appealed to the government for an immediate compensation to make up the loss.
Director Horticulture, Kashmir Aijaz Ahamd Bhat told Greater Kashmir that he had dispatched teams to the area to assess the loss.
Bhat appealed to the growers to follow the advisory already issued by the department to keep the further damage at bay.