Villagers installing an anti-hail cannon in Baghi village, 80 km from Shimla.(HT Photo)
Villagers installing an anti-hail cannon in Baghi village, 80 km from Shimla.(HT Photo)

Himachal farmers install anti-hail guns worth Rs 1.2 crore on their own

After facing losses year after year due to hailstorms, farmers of Shimla district finally installed two anti-hail guns at Ratnari and Baghi villages — 85km from here. Since there is no provision of a government subsidy, farmers paid for the project out of their own pocket.
By Saurabh Chauhan | Hindustan Times, Shimla
UPDATED ON AUG 26, 2016 11:30 AM IST

After facing losses year after year due to hailstorms, farmers of Shimla district finally installed two anti-hail guns at Ratnari and Baghi villages — 85km from here. Since there is no provision of a government subsidy, farmers paid for the project out of their own pocket.

These guns, also called anti-hail cannons, imported from New Zealand, are expected to protect over a dozen villages from hailstorms. The idea of installing them was conceived in March and a society was formed.

Subsequently, all the formalities for importing the two anti-hail guns — worth Rs 1.20 crore —were completed. Last week, farmers received anti-hail cannons and installed them at Baghi and Ratnari. Baghi gram panchayat head Raj Kumar Bhinta said simple science was behind antihail guns and its effectiveness. “An anti-hail gun is hassle-free in its use as compared to putting up anti-hail nets,” Bhinta told HT.

NEED OF THE HOUR

Every year, hailstorms pound apple crop and cause losses to the farmers. Even after putting up anti-hail nets, which are being promoted by the government, farmers felt that anti-hail guns will have been more effective.

ANTI-HAIL NETS NOT ENOUGH

Ankush Chauhan, an apple grower from Kotkhai, said antihail net was an old remedy that end up damaging trees. “Anti-hail nets check the tree growth besides depriving a plant of sunlight,” he said, adding that anti-hail nets were traditionally used to save apple trees from hail storm but it required a professional team to install and uninstall.

HOW IT WORKS

An anti-hail cannon is a shock wave generator intended to disrupt the formation of hailstones in the atmosphere in the beginning stage. An explosive charge of acetylene gas and air is fired in the lower chamber of the machine and the resulting energy passes through the neck and develops a shock wave. Shock wave travels at the speed of sound through the cloud formations.

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