Farmers, especially the fruit growers in Himachal Pradesh, the fruit basket of the country, faced a huge loss due to inclement weather during the past couple of months.
Heavy rain, untimely snowfall, hailstorm and high-velocity winds triggered a loss of `88.39 crore to the horticultural crop in the state.
The horticulture department has already assessed the loss of horticultural crops due to natural calamities this year. The assessment report would be forwarded to the state government for further action.
However, relief in this regard would not be given as cash compensation but it would be accommodated through input subsidy. Earlier, there was a provision of cash compensation of `7000 per hectare but now the relief is given through input subsidy.
In 2013-14, the revenue department had allotted `9.14 core as input subsidy to compensate the growers, while the loss was assessed at `183 crore, including the loss due to heavy snowfall in winters. The horticulture department purchased spray chemicals and distributed these to the growers across the state.
Horticultural crops, especially apple and mango, have suffered damages due to heavy rain, hailstorm and high-velocity winds. Apple crop in Shimla district got hampered by hailstorm and variation in temperature the most. At some places, trees were damaged due to untimely snowfall in mid-April.
Throughout the month of April, temperatures remained fluctuating because of erratic change in weather. Mercury dipped at the time of apple blossoming, hampering the crop prospects.
Kunal Chauhan of Kotkhai said that low temperature and rainfall in April affected the apple crop prospects in the area. "Required temperature could not be achieved as every 5th day, there was rainfall and dipping of mercury hit the flowering in the middle and the lower apple growing belts," said Chauhan.
At some places, hail and snow damaged the trees and crop even as anti-hail nets were installed. Snow and hail got deposited over the anti-hail nets and nets got laden with the snow, damaging some trees.
In Kangra and Una mango crop was hit by heavy rain and high-velocity winds. Besides, hailstorm battered majority of apple growing pockets of Shimla in the first week of May.
Last week, the horticulture department conducted the loss assessment through block horticulture development officials.
As per the report, a loss of `88.39 crore has been assessed across the state, with apple crop suffering the maximam damage. Hailstorm has been assessed as a major cause behind the heavy loss of crops.
Horticulture department director Gurudev Singh told HT that of the total loss due to natural calamities , `66.98 crore was assessed in Shimla district alone, followed by Kullu and Sirmaur.
In Shimla and Kullu, most of the loss was assessed in apple crop and due to hailstorm and rainfall during theblossoming season, he added.
Kullu suffered an estimated loss of `9.44 crore, Sirmaur `5.52 crore and Kangra `2.56 crore. As per the assessment report, the loss in Mandi was assessed at `2.37 crore and in Una `0.71 crore.
Shimla: `68.98 crore
Kullu: `9.44 crore
Sirmaur: `5.52 crore
Kangra: `2.56 crore
Mandi: `2.37 crore
Una: `0.71 crore
Chamba: `0.48 crore
Solan: `0.33 crore