Pune, February 12: Severe unseasonal rain and hailstorm lashed parts of Maharashtra’s Marathwada and Vidarbha region, razing huge tracts of crops on Sunday killing two people and leaving other two injured. The hailstorm, which hit Jalna, Beed, Amravati, Buldhana, Washim, Akola and the surrounding areas, crushed the standing crops of wheat, grapes and chickpea besides hitting mango cultivation.
The hailstorm, which lasted 15 minutes in some parts of Jalna and other places, transformed the green fields into white “snow-covered” valleys of Jammu and Kashmir. Farmers also complained they lost their crops of gram, oranges, banana, jowar and others in the natural calamity.
The reason for these ongoing rains could be ascribed to the wind confluence zone over Vidarbha and Marathwada which was formed due to the merging of humid winds from Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. Moreover, there is a channel seen to be extending from Northwest Rajasthan up to Vidarbha region.
It has been attributed that if there was only rain, there wouldn’t have been much damage to the crops. However, hailstorm and gusty winds have resulted damage on a large scale. Not only this, there were casualties during this severe hailstorm. Prior to this onset of rain, the weather remained dry over Vidarbha, with which maximum temperatures had mounted and settled well above normal.
The Maharashtra government moved into active mode with Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar announcing that all farmers would be compensated for their crop losses. He added that a meeting of insurance companies has been convened in Mumbai today to discuss the issue.
Co-operation Minister Subhash Deshmukh ordered district officials to start preparing records immediately to assess the losses to disburse aid to the affected farmers.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday warned farmers to beware of rains and unseasonal rains, after India Meteorological Department’s Pune Centre forecast hailstorms for February 10-12 and advised farmers to complete harvesting of crops before February 12 and keep the produce in safer place.
In regards to temperatures, both maximums and minimums have already dropped significantly over most parts of the region. As of now, the weathermen expect days to remain pleasant, while nights would be cool.