Rain and hailstorms damage crops in 135 000 acres in Telangana, India


Unseasonal heavy rains coupled with high-speed wind and hailstorm caused extensive damage to standing crops in nearly 55 000 hectares (135 000 acres) in Telangana district, India between April 1 and 3, 2018. Although the heavy rain brought ease to the people from scorching temperatures which had soared about 40 °C (104 °F) in several parts of the state, the rains also caused a lot of misery to the farmers by damaging crops which were almost ready for harvest.

Senior officials of the agriculture and horticultural departments, who reviewed the situation on April 3, estimated that paddy crop suffered the most due to thunderstorms and hailstorms in Nalgonda, Suryapet, Siddipet, Khammam and Warangal districts, besides parts of Ranga Reddy.

"In all, paddy in more than 45 000 ha [111 000 acres], which is ready for harvesting, has been reported to be damaged. Similarly, maize crop also suffered heavy damages in 5 000 ha [12 500 acres]. The other crops that were damaged are mostly of horticulture like mango and lemon, besides vegetables," Principal Secretary (Agriculture) C Parthasarathy said, according to Hindustan Times.

The officials were instructed to assess the extent of crop damage.

"More rains and hailstorms are expected in the next 48 hours also, as per the forecast of the meteorological department. Once the rains subside, we will be able to assess the actual damage. If there are no further rains, there is also a possibility of recovery of crops which are partially inundated by the rainwater, so that the loss could come down," Parthasarathy said.

Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao also sought assessment reports from officials on the damage caused to crops in different districts following heavy rain and hailstorms. "Since the government is ready to give input subsidy to farmers who suffered losses, reports should be prepared and sent to the government forthwith," a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said, according to Hindustan Times.

State chief secretary S K Joshi spoke to all the district collectors over the phone and asked them to prepare reports on crop losses. He directed that official teams immediately start their visits to the affected areas to assess the damage.

A similar type of event was reported in February 2018, when an unseasonal hailstorm hit India, causing large-scale agricultural damage.

Featured image: True Park / Rice paddy, Gyeongju


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