Shopian: Another hailstorm within two days in south Kashmir damaged apple fruits and buds in about a dozen more villages on Sunday. Orchardists said that the hailstorm lasted for around 25 minutes in the afternoon and damaged 50 to 80 percent of the apple crop in the area.
The villages which were affected due to the hailstorm include Kapran, Vehil, Check Nowgam, Check Kachdoora, Kanjiullar, Dangam, Wangam, Pandushan and adjoining areas.
Two days ago many other villages in Shopian and Kulgam districts were severely affected by a brief but intense hailstorm.
Locals from Gahend village told Kashmir Reader that at around 1:00 pm, black clouds appeared in the sky. Minutes later, hail stones started raining.
Despite wet and cloudy weather in the months of March and April, the majority of south Kashmir areas are witnessing a bumper crop this year. But the weather ahead seems gloomy for the fruit industry as more hailstorms have been predicted by an independent weather agency.
The apple industry in south Kashmir is mostly based on tall traditional trees which have no arrangement of hail nets to save the fruit from any such calamity.
Locals from Cheki Nowgam said that 70 to 80 percent of the apple crop was damaged, while orchardists from Kapran said that 30 percent of their fruit was affected by the hail stones.
A horticulture official said that the department is constituting a team to access the losses.