Massive hailstorm hits Kashmir

Houses damaged, electricity snapped, trees uprooted

Hailstorm followed by rains triggered dip in temperature while strong winds that hit various districts of Kashmir Friday evening took heavy toll on fruit industry. Orchards and standing crops in the twin districts of Shopian and Pulwama in South Kashmir and North Kashmir’s district Baramulla were also heavily affected by hail and windstorm.
Many residential houses were also damaged due to windstorm while scores of apple and other trees were uprooted.
“Dozens of villages were affected by the hailstorm and windstorm incurring losses worth crores of rupees to the fruit industry including apple and pear,” said locals at Shopian.
With the windstorm, power supply was snapped as power poles were uprooted at various places in Pulwama and Shopian districts. However, a PDD official said the restoration of power supply to the affected areas has been taken on war footing basis.
According to experts, the hailstorm and windstorm has hit the orchards at a time when the fruit is at ripening stage.
“The hailstorm might also result in disease in the crops. We hope timely help from the authorities,” said the growers.
The storm has damaged the branches of many trees while uprooting fruit trees.
“In most of the orchards the apple and pear fruit is seen scattered on the ground,” said the villagers.
“Our team would visit the villages to assess the quantum of loss and a report will soon be prepared regarding it,” said an official of Horticulture department.
The fruit industry is the prime source of economy in Shopian district and losses incurred by the hailstorm and windstorm will be a big blow.
“We were expecting a bumper crop and subsequently a huge turnover but our crop has suffered massive damage due to hailstorm and strong winds,” said Irfan Ahmad of Memender, Shopian.
“The storm has left the orchardists, who entirely rely on the fruit industry, high and dry,” said a fruit grower of Sopore. He said apple being the cash crop and major crop has been entirely damaged due to the storm.
The maize crop and paddy also suffered damage in many areas of north Kashmir.
The windstorm also damaged several houses in Shopian and Pulwama districts. “We are not aware about the actual figures about the houses that suffered damages. However, they would be in hundreds,” said locals.
Water logging in several areas including Srinagar hit the traffic movement. Locals at Sopore said that the administration failed to pay any heed to dewater the main roads, causing huge inconvenience to commuters.
Srinagar roads also remained inundated as the water flowed on the streets. It gave tough time to drivers and caused immense hardships to commuters.
According to a MeT official, the maximum and minimum temperatures recorded in Srinagar on Friday were 29.9 degree Celsius and 15.8 degree Celsius respectively.
“Srinagar recorded 4.4 mm rains on Friday, Kupwara 1.3 mm and Pahalgam 8.8 mm,” he informed.

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