A dozen people died and about 90 were injured in unseasonal rain and hailstorms in Rajasthan on Sunday as severe weather triggered by a western disturbance caused extensive damage to winter crops ripe for harvest across vast swathes of the state.
Officials said heavy rain and hailstones the size of golf balls damaged Rabi crops of wheat, barley, cumin, mustard, gram and potato as well as vegetable farms in the countryside that feed Delhi and all major urban centres in western and northern states.
Most casualties — human and livestock — were caused by collapsed homes and lightning, though the maximum rainfall on Saturday and Sunday was 52mm, moderately high for an arid state.
In Bhilwara, where six people died, the district administration said Rs 1.50 lakh would be paid to the families of the deceased. District collector Ravi Surpur said preliminary reports suggested 50% of the crops were damaged.
More than 125 mud houses were damaged in Pataliyas village and 47 in Kumariya village on Saturday evening.
Residents were shifted to a nearby school.
Several other villages, including Sunda Ka Kheda, Bhaga Ka Kheda and Bholi under Suwana panchayat samiti, were also affected.
Supur said the district administration and NGOs distributed food packets and utensils to displaced families.
Medical and veterinary teams were rushed to rain-affected areas, he said.
Phagi and Paota in Jaipur district received the maximum rainfall of 52 mm and 50 mm, respectively, between 5 pm on Saturday and 4 pm on Sunday.
Bhilwara received 42 mm rain since Saturday.
There were hailstorms in many parts of Jaipur on Sunday morning but there was no report of loss to life or property in the district.
In Bundi district, two brothers – Ramlal Gurjar (45) and Ramdayal Gurjar (28) – died in Khanpura village when their house collapsed on Saturday evening.
Five members of their family were injured.
Two others – Govind, 50, and Fatehlal Mali, 60 – were found dead in their agricultural fields in Morkhunda and Dokun villages, taking the death toll in rain-related incidents in Bundi to four.
Two minors were killed and three others injured when lightning struck them in Jawaza and Roopangarh areas of Ajmer on Saturday evening.
In Ajmer, 15 goats were killed in Loharawara area and more than 150 sheep died in Namana region of Bundi district.
According to the agriculture department, Ajmer district received an average of 17.6 mm rainfall in 36 hours.
"We are calculating the exact losses due to rains and hailstorm on Saturday night," said VK Sharma, deputy director of the state agriculture department.
The downpour threw normal life out of gear in cities.
There was disruption in power supply as electricity pylons were uprooted and transformers were damaged by the inclement weather.
(With inputs from Ajmer, Kota and Bhilwara)