Having faced the nature's wrath, initial damages to the country's best apples produced in the tribal belt of Kinnaur district have been pegged at more than Rs 100 crore.
Incessant rains and flood had triggered landslides in Kinnaur on June 16, weighing heavily on horticulture and agriculture produce besides causing loss of life and property.
According to the initial damages assessed by the state horticulture department, major apple crop spread over 10,000 hectares was lost to the calamity. The preliminary estimate has already established more than 80% damages to the crop.
Tarun Shridhar, principal secretary, horticulture, said: “We have assessed preliminary losses and in terms of monetary damage, the exact figures are yet to be ascertained. The short-term and long-term damages will be taken into consideration while assessing the total damage to the crop.”
He said: “We will send a team of horticulture experts from Shimla to various locations in Kinnaur to not only assess the damages but also advice farmers on how to go about reviving the damaged trees.”
The worst-affected was the district's Pooh subdivision that has 24 panchayats. Damaged villages include Lippa, Morang, Rarang, Pooh, Nako, Chango, Hango, Kanam, Labrang and five villages - Sunnam, Giabong, Ropa, Rushkalang and Shyso - of Ropa valley.
The anxiety was writ large as chief minister Virbhadra Singh visited the area by chopper on Friday to take stock of the situation.
Hishey Negi, a resident of Pooh and president of Yuvak Mandal, told Hindustan Times that almost 70% of the crop had been damaged in the area.
“We have apprised the chief minister of the situation and have demanded relief and restoration of normal life in the area,” he said.
Gyan Singh, a resident of Giabong village of Ropa valley, lamented that heavy snow of about two to three feet had damaged the crop that had grown to the size of an apricot. “The snow has broken the trunk and branches of the trees, causing damaging almost 80% of the crop,” he said.
SP Negi, an orchardist from Rekong Peo, said unprecedented rain caused heavy loss to the apple orchards, main economy of the tribal belt, in his area.
Chering Dorje of Rarang village said: “A landslide washed away 45 full-grown trees in one of my orchards, which produced around 350 boxes of apple. Trees in my other orchards also suffered damages.”