DH Latest NewsDH NEWSLatest NewsNEWSHill stations

Himachal Pradesh: Unexpected snowfall, hail wreak havoc on apple trees

InnHimachal Pradesh widespread rain, occasional snow and heavy hail caused widespread damage to apple orchards on Friday.

The state department of agriculture and horticulture has directed field officials to evaluate the damage to cash crops. The worst-affected orchards are in Kumarsain, Kharapathar, Jubbal, Rohru and Chopal in Shimla district.

The state horticulture department said that a large number of fruit-laden apple trees were either uprooted or their branches broken due to the snowfall. “All orchards at elevations above 6,500 feet have been hit by hail. Apple trees in elevations above 7,500ft have been hit severely as they are in full bloom. The hail was followed by snow that damaged nets and trees,” said Lokinder Singh Bisht, the president of the Progressive Growers Association.

Horticulturists say such heavy snowfall in April is unexpected. “I have never seen such heavy snowfall in April. The damage to the apple crop will be immense ‘ says Mahijit Rathore 44, president, Nawar Valley Apple Association.

The Rs 60,000 crore apple economy is the backbone for over 2 lakh farming families in Himachal Pradesh. Apples are mainly grown in Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Kinnaur and a few regions of Chamba, Sirmaur and Lahaul and Spiti. “Earlier, we suffered because of the drought-like situation. Now, untimely snow has dealt a severe blow to the apple economy. Government should assess the damage and provide relief to growers,” says former parliamentary secretary Rohit Thakur.

The snow has also destroyed other cash crops in Himachal Pradesh. “We have requested the government to provide relief to farmers,” said former state Congress chief and Nadaun legislator Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu.

Roads blocked, power supply hit

The severe cold weather obstructed road transport in the remote regions of Chamba, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts.

As many as 423 electricity transformers were destroyed due to thunder and lightning in Chamba, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts, while 178 main and lateral roads were blocked on Friday.

As per the state disaster management authority, 140 roads were closed in Lahaul and Spiti district. Traffic was affected on seven routes in Kullu, nine in Pangi and one in Salooni and five in Bharmour in Chamba district.

Power supply was affected by damage to 35 transformers in Pangi, 93 in Pooh, 53 in Kalpa, three in Nichar, six in Kullu, 166 in Lahaul and 67 in Kaza.

Temperature drops across the state

The least temperature in Shimla town was 5 degrees Celsius, while it received 32.7mm of rainfall. Kalpa recorded a low of -0.5 degree Celsius. It received 15cm of snowfall. Keylong was the coldest place in the state with the mercury plunging to -1.4 degrees Celsius.


Post Your Comments

Back to top button