Rains, hail batter Kashmir

Valley’s rivers may swell up as weatherman predicts more showers; Heavy damage caused to Crops, orchards; True assessment possible only after weather improves: Govt

SRINAGAR: Freaky weather conditions have caused shadows on farm produce across Kashmir. The incessant rains are now being followed by strong winds and  hail the size of golf balls, ruining crops and shattering the farmers’ hopes. Kashmiris, it seems, are caught up in wrong weather at the wrong time. Even as the Chief Minister remains busy dispelling fears caused by exit polls, weather-hit populations across Kashmir hardly find a trace of administration when they seek help during weather emergencies.

While the weatherman has hoped a pause after Wednesday, the authorities fear the rivers may swell if the rains don’t hold in few days. “We may have to sound flood alert if the weather conditions don’t improve by the weekend,” said a senior official in the Flood Control department.

Reports said heavy rains and hailstorm have wrought havoc in parts of South Kashmir causing widespread damages to crops while at scores of places electric polls were uprooted that resulted in power breakdown. Reports said that heavy rains and hailstorm damaged paddy seed crop, vegetable fields ,and fruit orchards in different parts of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district leaving the farmer community high and dry.

Meanwhile rains continue to lash Kashmir Valley for the second consecutive day bringing down temperatures. The continuous downpour resulted in flooding of lanes, bye-lanes and roads in cities and towns while in Kulgam district, hundreds of fruit-borne trees were damaged upsetting farmers and fruit growers. Reports said that the hailstorm also caused damages to various structures in Kulgam.

MeT has predicted more rains at isolated places in Kashmir Valley and said that the weather may improve from Wednesday afternoon. “The frequency of Western Disturbance was more this year that resulted in cold and intermittent rainfall across Kashmir valley. Rainfall may significantly start decreasing from Wednesday afternoon, however, it may continue to lash some isolated places,” Director MeT Sonum Lotus said.  

The change in weather may force authorities to sound alert in Kashmir as major rivers may start to swell in case rains continue to lash Valley.

Eyewitnesses said the hailstorm in different parts of Kulgam district has caused heavy damage to crops, apple trees, electric poles and some muddy structures in hamlets like Damhal Hanjipora, Noorabad, Devsar, Kulgam, Soput Tengapora, Brarigam, Gundipora, Akhal, Shahu Sachin, Bugam, Kelam, Banghal, Dardgund, Srindu, Gundipora, Zradipora, Mankanpora, Dhanaiv, Haloora, Aagru.

“Damage to paddy seed and other crops is almost 100% in various villages.  I think the extent of damage reported ranges from 50 to 100% in four blocks of the district,” an administrative official said adding that the true assessment would be possible only after the weather improved. Reports said that at Kelam and many other places the trees and electric polls were uprooted due to gale and hailstorm that led to the power breakdown.

Heavy downpour amid hailstorm was also reported from Pahalgam and its adjacent areas causing damage to the crops.

The farmers had appealed the authorities to compensate the loss caused due to the natural disaster.

Reports of damge to the crops and other assets is reported from parts of central Kashmir. Reports said the standing crops and orchards has suffered damage due to heavy hailstorm in kandi areas of Charar-i-Sharief tehsil including Nagabal, Charipora, Pakharpora, Footlipora, zinpanchal, Kanidajan, Braripathri, Doodkhutu, Darwan-Nawgam, Branpathri and Chalyan-Choontinar .

Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather has directed the officials to send joint teams of revenue, horticulture and agriculture departments immediately to the affected areas to access the losses so that the affected farmers and orchardists are provided required relief at the earliest.

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