Hailstorms strike standing crops; farmers rue losses

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, March 18: Unseasonal rains accompanied by hailstorms brought back the nightmares of 2015 when the farmers had lost standing crops on a largescale. Rains and hailstorms accompanied by high speed wind have been reported from several northern, western and central parts of the country.

“Rainfall accompanied with thunderstorms/hailstorms are likely over North India during 18-20 March; over Central, West India and south Peninsula during March 18-19. Heavy rainfall is likely over Northeast India during 19-22 March,” said Indian meteorological department.

The IMD has noted that rains have been reports all across the country, even from Kerala and south Tamil Nadu. The Marathwada region in Maharashtra is also reporting rains. The Met Department stated that the rains are also taking place in Odisha and West Bengal. The crop loss is being reported from Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and several other states.

The sudden change in weather which brought hailstorms has swept through the Indian subcontinent, with heavy rains being reported from Karachi in Pakistan and Nepal also. While the MPs and MLAs are taking stock of the crop damage, a few of the state governments, including Telangana, have begun assessment of crop loss of the farmers.

The wheat crop, which is to be harvested, while some of them have been already harvested, is being eagerly awaited. The wheat prices has climbed sharply, forcing the government to release the wheat stocks in public through private auctions, to bring down the prices. Even neighbouring Nepal is reeling under rise in the prices of wheat. India recently had shipped 20 lakh tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan also as part of the humanitarian relief in the backdrop of over 80 per cent of the population in the war-ravaged country facing famine like situations.

Farmers in several districts of Rajasthan are reporting extensive damage to the standing crops. Similar appears to be the situation in the western parts of Uttar Pradesh. The Central government has not yet made any statement on the extent of the crop damage due to the heavy rains.

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