3 hailstorm spells leave vast apple orchards battered in Shopian

Administration assessing damage
Representational Image
Representational ImageFile: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Shopian: On last Wednesday, Javed Ahmad Poswal was at his apple farm when dense black clouds began enveloping  Kathahalan village, some 14 kms from south Kashmir’s Shopian town. A few minutes later lightning flashed across the sky and it started hailing at a rate of knots.

The hailstorm, which lasted for 10 to 15 minutes, shattered all his plans.

"I had taken an advance payment from an apple trader to marry my  brother and construct a new house", said Poswal.

He said that a hailstorm of few minutes left nothing for him.

"It damaged around 70 to 80 percent of my crop", said , a distressed Poswal.

The hailstorm over the last three weeks wrecked havoc on apple farms in dozens  villages of district Shopian.

The worst hit villages included Kathahalan, Kaprin, Butgund, Sedow, Devpora, Bohrihalan, Shmasipora, Amshipora and Wangam.

The hailstorm stripped apple trees of their leaves and knocked down the early stage fruit, leaving thousands of farmers distraught.

Showkat Ahmad, an apple grower from Wangam village pegged the loss in his area at 60 percent.

On May 6, according to Ahmad, hailstones battered orchards, sprawled over hundreds of Kanals, in the entire area.

The district since the beginning of this month witnessed at least three spells of hailstorm, causing significant damage to the crop and leaves.

Mir Mohammad Amin, president Fruit Mandi Shopian told Greater Kashmir the hailstorm must have caused a loss of Rs 200 crore to the farmers.

A senior official, who declined to be quoted by his name, said that it would take district administration a few more days to assess the loss.

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