Apple growers shocked as anti-hail guns fail in Shimla

SHIMLA: Upset by a lack of technical back-up to operate anti-hail guns, apple farmers are a shattered lot after a recent spell of hailstorm has destroyed the fruit crop in Baghi-Ratnari, parts of Tikkar in Rohru and Chopal belts.

editorial@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 18

Upset by a lack of technical back-up to operate anti-hail guns, apple farmers are a shattered lot after a recent spell of hailstorm has destroyed the fruit crop in Baghi-Ratnari, parts of Tikkar in Rohru and Chopal belts.

The Horticulture Department has put the damage to the tune of Rs 4.5 crore - Rs 3 crore in Baghi-Ratnari and Rs 1.5 crore in the Tikkar belt.

“Farmers collected over a crore and installed anti-hail guns in Baghi and Ratnari last year, but we are shocked when the guns could not serve the purpose, causing a huge damage to the crop”, said Ashutosh Chauhan, a farmer from the area.

The hailstorms have damaged the apple crop in Shantha-Dewat- Shilikain, Dhareuli-Khagna-Chopal-Bodhna and parts of Pundar and Bamta areas, in parts of Jubbal Kotkhai, Rohru and Churag and Karsog in Mandi and upper Kullu valley and Banjar and Anni in Kullu during the flowering stage.

Officials estimate that the apple crop is on the lower side this year even as the data is being collected from all over the state. The farmers, who have availed the insurance crop scheme are paid claims for the loss, they added.

Director-incharge, horticulture, Dr H K Sharma said they were gathering exact information on the apple crop and would assess the total loss caused to the crop this year. There was no report of hailstorms in the apple belt today, he added.

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