These days hailstorm is worrying farmers of Himachal Pradesh as the apple fruit is at its early stage. For last few days, hailstorm has battered apple orchards in Kharapathar and surrounding areas of Shimla district. Fearing the crop destruction, villagers knock at deities’ door.
In Mandhol village of Shimla district, villagers have gathered to worship goddess ‘Kali’ to please her and protect their crop from hailstorm. The full day function will end with a dinner attended by the entire village.
“We have faith on our deity or goddess. We will pray and she will certainly pay her heed,” said a local priest Shiv Dutt.
“Everyone’s last hope is god. Some farmers have put anti-hail nets but all can’t afford. We have faith in our goddess and we are just taking ahead the tradition,” he added.
A villager AR Chauhan said it was an old tradition. “Deity is worshipped and prayed to keep crop protected from weather vagaries,” he said.
“A common farmer cannot afford anti-hail nets for entire orchard due to its high pricing,” said a farmer Jai Prakas.
On Sunday, hailstorm battered the crop in Kharapathar area. This time the apple crop is expected to be good in higher and upper middle reaches while mild in lower middle and low altitude areas. Apple crop worth crores of rupees gets destroyed due to hailstorm every year.
As per the government’s estimate, apple crop worth more than 50 crore has been destroyed by hailstorm so far this year. Farmers have installed anti-hailnet in some places but the overall coverage is low.
The state has 6 anti-hail guns, of which three were installed by previous government in Jubbal and Kotkhai assembly segment, while villagers installed three more anti-hail cannons on their own after the government denied installing these machines.