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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Hailstorms, untimely rains hit crops in many states

PTI  Bhopal/Chandigarh, March 12, 2014
First Published: 11:38 IST(12/3/2014) | Last Updated: 12:43 IST(12/3/2014)

Unseasonal rains and sudden hailstorms have destroyed crops in lakhs of acres of farmland in some states including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab posing a threat to expected yields besides causing huge losses to farmers.

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Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh were also affected even as state governments sought relief from the Centre hoping the Model Code of Conduct in force for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections is not a hindrance in providing relief to tens of thousands of farmers. High velocity winds have also caused damage to crops.

"The farmers have suffered an extensive damage to their crops due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm which is going on even now resulting in a crop loss of about Rs. 13,000 crore," Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told reporters in Bhopal on Tuesday.

Chouhan said that a total of 30,000 villages were affected because of rains and hailstorm causing damage to 20 lakh MT of wheat crop, 10 lakh MT of gram, three lakh MT of masoor (lentil) and 1.5 lakh MT of other crops suffered damages.

He said that a memorandum is being prepared for submitting to the Centre demanding relief for the affected farmers.

The state government has also requested the Centre to send a Central team soon to assess the damage.

Wheat crops at several places including Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Nawanshahar, Mohali, Tarn Taran in Punjab and a few districts including Palwal and Yamunanagar in Haryana were flattened because of rain and high velocity winds, officials of the agriculture department concerned said in Chandigarh.

Punjab and Haryana, which are major foodgrain growing states, have 38 lakh hectares and 25 lakh hectares of area, respectively, under wheat in current rabi season.

"Rain at this stage was not desirable as the crop is nearing maturity and current weather conditions could severely affect crop yield," Punjab Agriculture department Director M S Sandhu said.

In Maharashtra, standing crops like wheat, jowar, pulses, sunflower suffered extensive damage due to hailstorm for over eight days in many parts of the state.

Crops in more than eight lakh hectares in Maharashtra has been damaged by untimely rain and hailstorm in some parts of the state, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said Tuesday.

Chavan told PTI that he has spoken to the Union Government seeking maximum compensation to the hailstorms- affected people in various parts of Marathwada, Vidarbha and in some parts of western Maharashtra, where crops have been hit.


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