Unseasonal showers and hailstorm flatten rabi crops

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After suffering losses on kharif crops due to subdued prices and a pest attack on cotton, unseasonal rains and hailstorm have damaged standing rabi crops such as wheat, chana, jowar and bajra, besides high-value horticulture crops such as mangoes and citrus fruits, in several parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha.As the western disturbance is moving eastward, the weather office has issued warnings to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya for possible thunderstorms accompanied by hailstorm.

As per preliminary estimate of the state government, crops on 1.24 lakh hectare area spread across 11 districts of Maharashtra have been affected by Sunday’s hailstorm. “The hailstorm-affected areas are likely to increase as the field survey is going on,” said state’s agriculture minister Pandurang Phundkar.The unseasonal rains over most districts of Marathwada and Vidarbha, especially the hailstorm on Sunday, damaged harvest-ready crops such as tur, jowar, bajra, gramand and high-value horticulture crops like grapes, oranges, bananas and mangoes, which are in the flowering stage.

“The farmers had not received remunerative price for their kharif crops. They didn’t even get the benefit of the state’s loan waiver scheme. The hailstorm has now led to a total collapse and I fear that farmers’ suicides, which are already on the rise, could increase further after this natural disaster,” said Akola-based Prashant Gavande, convener, Shetkari Jagar Manch.

“The hailstorm and thunderstorm happened because of a very strong western disturbance. It was so deep that it reached up to the central parts of the country,” said K Sathi Devi, Director General of Meteorology, (IMD, Delhi).On 11th Feb, rain/thundershowers lashed most places over Punjab, East Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and Chhattisgarh, besides many places over Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi and West Uttar Pradesh. It rained at a few places over East Uttar Pradesh and West Madhya Pradesh as well.

The mountain regions of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand received snowfall on Monday due to the western disturbance. “The system is now moving eastward. We have issued a warning for thunderstorm accompanied by hailstorm and gusty winds at isolated places over Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and Meghalaya for February 13,” said Devi.

Source : The Economic Times

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