Farmers demand loan waiver as hailstorm damages 70% fruit crop in Srinagar

As per a preliminary assessment by the Horticulture Department in Kashmir, the hailstorm caused 70% damage to cherry, walnut and apple orchards

Srinagar: The hailstorm which hit parts of Kashmir on Friday has caused heavy damage to fruit trees on Srinagar outskirts.

As per a preliminary assessment by the Horticulture Department in Kashmir, the hailstorm caused 70% damage to cherry, walnut and apple orchards located in Harwan and Fakeer Gujri on the outskirts of Srinagar.

“In Fakeer Gujri, Dhara and Harwan the hailstorm lasted for about an hour, leaving many crops like Cherry, Walnut, Apple, Mustard Oil, Vegetable and Pulses annihilated,” Director General Horticulture, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat told GK.

The affected farmers have demanded a waiver for their Kisan Credit Card Loan (KCC Loan) for this year. Bhat, who visited Harwan and adjacent areas to assess the situation said he has paid Rs 10,000 to farmers for now and “will do more whatever is in my capacity,” he said.

Over the farmers’ demand to waive off this year’s KCC, the DG Horticulture said, “The matter will be discussed with other concerned authorities before reaching a decision.”

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In Gulmarg and Tangmarg area, the DG said orchards there have suffered minimal damage with 5% of crop getting affected.

As per the Meteorological Department’s forecast, hot and dry weather will prevail in the UT for five days, however, it said that isolated cases of hailstorm cannot be ruled out.

Asked about the precautions prior to hailstorms to prevent damage to orchards, the DG Horticulture said that the department is planning to procure safety nets which can be installed over the fruit trees.

“The process of getting those nets has been initiated and we hope they should be available soon” the DG added.

Meanwhile, the Horticulture Department has also issued an advisory for the affected farmers, asking them to spray the damaged orchards with fungicides.

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