Heavy rainfall, hailstorm and unseasonal fresh snowfall in the hills of Chenab Valley on Friday caused extreme cold wave conditions in the region and has marred the prospect of good harvest in the region, officials said.
Snowfall and continuous spells of rain and hailstorms for the past week has severely affected several places in the hills. Kailash Mountain Range, Asha Pati Glacier, Padri Gali, Bhaal Padri, Chatargala, surrounding Bhadarwah while Braid Baal in Doda and Nehyed Chilly, Laloopani, Patyala, Talai, Mohaant and Nargadi of Bhallessa experienced fresh snowfall since early morning. Jaie, Guldanda, Bhadarwah town, Kota Khadangal, Ladu Kansar, Dhadkai, Kilru, Kandoloo and Gill-Kanan were lashed with moderate to heavy hailstorms and rains, the officials said.
Owing to the extreme cold wave conditions in entire Chenab Valley, fruit growers of Bhadarwah, Bhallesa and Banihal areas are apprehending huge losses. The hailstorm in the lower regions and snowfall in the upper reaches have reportedly damaged the buds and flowers of fruit trees especially that of Almonds, Apricot, Pears, Plump, Peach and Cherry, they said.
"We were expecting good yield this year as all the fruit trees were blooming with maximum flowers, but to our dismay, we wake up this morning to see all our hopes razed to ground as overnight hailstorm has badly damaged the flowers," Saif Din Dhakkad, a resident of Kota Top, said
"Unseasonal snowfall in the surrounding hills resulting in extreme cold wave conditions in the Valley has badly affected the prospects of pear fruit as due to continuous low temperature, the buds on pear trees could not reach the flowering stage, resulting in huge loss to the crop, " Mohd Shafi Sheikh, a leading fruit grower in Chenab Valley, said.
Chief Horticulture Officer (CHO) Doda Madan Lal Tak said, "As of now, we are monitoring the situation which has arisen after continuous hostile weather and according to the preliminary reports, which we have gathered from our field staff, there may be a loss of 20 per cent to the crop."
(With inputs from PTI)