Unseasonal rain and hailstorms ravage more than 32 000 ha (79 000 acres) of crops, Bihar


Unseasonal downpour and hailstorms during the last week of February caused major damage to more than 32 000 hectares (80 000 acres) of crops in 11 districts of India's Bihar state. Several other states in the northern region also saw widespread crop damage.

Severe storms hit Bihar during the last week of February, damaging wide swaths of crops, including wheat, sugarcane, litchi, and mango blossoms, agriculture minister Prem Kumar reported on Friday, March 6, 2020.

Hailstones up to 20 mm (0.8 inches) in diameter were reported in parts of Kaimur, Rohtas, and Aurangabad; while strong winds ravaged mango trees.

"We are finished," said Badhauna village farmer Amit Singh. "The rabi crop was our last hope for survival. Heavy rain in November, December and January destroyed our paddy crops."

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Around 60 crore rupees or 8 million dollars were allotted by the state disaster management department as compensation, Kumar confirmed. Farmers whose crops were severely affected were invited to place their applications online beginning March 9.

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Kumar remarked that the applicants will be thoroughly screened, and once the verification is done, the payment will be made within a month to farmers in districts that sustained 33 percent of crop damage or more.

Several other states in northern India, including Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, were also pounded by heavy rain and hailstorms, resulting in similar widespread damage.

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Featured image credit: Today Bihar News/YouTube

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