Hailstorm damages orchards in Budgam, Ganderbal

Srinagar, May 27: The hailstorm that hit parts of Kashmir on Thursday and Friday caused heavy damage to orchards, with officials saying they are assessing the damage.

On Friday evening, the hailstorm associated with heavy rains damaged orchards in several areas of Budgam district. It was the second day in a row that Budgam was hit by the meteorological fury.

Javid Ahmad, an arborist from Budgam, said the hailstorm affected different varieties of fruit and also affected vegetable gardens.

On Thursday, Mujpathri, Magam, Khansahib, Draddar, Yarikhah, Narbal, Tangdajan, Soibugh and other parts of Budgam received hailstorms affecting fruit crops including cherries, apples, apricots, pears and vegetables .

Officials informed that many areas of Ganderbal including Nizampora, Burn, Wangath, Waniarm, Hakhnaer, Hariwanigam and other areas in the district were hit by hail on Thursday.

While apple and other fruit varieties are in their early stages of formation, hail and heavy rain have caused damage to the fruit crop.

Director of Horticulture in Kashmir, Ghulam Rasool Mir, said he had ordered all horticulture officers in the district to visit their respective areas to assess the damage to fruit crops. He said on Friday that horticulture crews had gone to many places to assess the damage.

“CHOs and other field officials have been ordered to go to the scene and collect details of the damage. I advised them to personally visit the places that were affected by the hailstorm,” he said.

The director said officers will assess the percentage of damage to orchards. He said he had asked relevant officials to produce assessment reports and would share them with relevant authorities.

Asked about precautions to take before hailstorms to avoid damage to orchards, he said the department plans to procure safety nets that can be installed on fruit trees.

The dry spell in March and the first week of April had already worried fruit growers and they feared it could affect this year’s fruit yield. March, which is generally considered the wettest month of the year, has seen very few rain events this year.

Relevantly, the Department of Horticulture on May 07 issued a warning for a hailstorm in various parts of the valley and had advised recommendations for arborists.

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