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Hail sours dreams of bumper mango crop

Saturday’s hailstorm poured cold water on the dreams of Mango farmers in Lucknow and Punjab who were anticipating a bumper harvest this season, report HT Correspondents.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondents, Lucknow/nurmahal
UPDATED ON APR 07, 2008 01:53 AM IST

Mango farmers in the Lucknow belt were hoping for a bumper harvest. Saturday’s hailstorm poured cold water on their hopes. The losses could be around Rs 5 crore.

“Several villages in this block like Naripur, Latifpur, Kanaur, Rahipuri have experienced hail. And orchards in such villages may face damage,” said Vijay Singh, chairman of the Phal Vikas Parishad (fruit development council), who owns big orchards in Mall block of the mango belt.

“It is likely that this hail may lead to losses to the tune of Rs 5 crore or more,” he added.

The only good news is that the damage is not extensive as the hailstorm affected only a cluster of villages.

The news from Punjab is also grim. Saturday’s hailstorm wiped out wheat, sunflower, mustard and fodder crops in many villages in Nurmahal sub-tehsil.

The hailstorm started around 6.30 pm and lasted over an hour. Villages in Talwan region were lashed with hailstones weighing around 250 grams each, completely destroying crops.

Rachhpal Singh, a farmer, said he had not seen such big hailstones in the last 50 years.

The aggrieved farmers have demanded adequate compensation for their losses and bank loan waiver.

Nurmahal executive magistrate and joint sub-registrar Mukhtiar Singh said he had received reports of 75 per cent crop damage as a result of the hailstorm. He said revenue field staff have been told to submit details of the losses.

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