Hailstones damage crops, vegetables in DarchulaChhangru in Vyas Rural Municipality is the hardest hit. Farmers complain of government indifference to compensating them.
Darchula, a hill district in Sudurpaschim Province, has witnessed its first snow this year. It rained with hailstones in the lower altitude while the high altitude places in the district witnessed snowfall.
“It snowed in the evening on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Tinkar and other high altitude places. Temperature is gradually decreasing due to the snowfall,” said Hitesh Budhathoki, a resident of Tinkar in Vyas Rural Municipality-1, over telephone. According to him, the first snowfall of the season has affected life at Tinkar and nearby areas.
Similarly, it snowed in high altitude places of Apihimal Rural Municipality as well over the past three days. Bishan Singh Budhathoki, a local of Apihimal, said that it did not snow in the human settlements, but the highlands including Ghusa and Khandeshwari witnessed snowfall, making the weather cold in the areas.
It has been raining intermittently in almost all parts of Darchula on Monday. The rains coupled with hailstorms damaged fruits, vegetables and crops. Chhangru, a remote settlement in Vyas-1 was the hardest hit by the hailstones.
The hailstones damaged the fruits, vegetables and food crops in several places in Darchula. According to the locals, hailstones fell for around half an hour and caused significant damage. “The hailstones destroyed fruits and vegetables in various places of Lekham Rural Municipality,” said Gopal Singh Khatri, a local of Pirtoli in ward 5 of Lekam Rural Municipality. He said oranges, citrus limettas and persimmons as well as vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage and tomatoes were damaged by the hailstones. “The fruits and vegetables which were ready to harvest were destroyed. The farmers dependent on fruits and vegetables are hugely affected,” he added. Many people in the area eke out a living by selling fruits and vegetables.
Likewise, ready to harvest crops including paddy and soya beans have also been damaged by the hailstones. “Paddy was almost ready for harvesting in my field. The hailstones damaged it. I am very sad for the loss caused by the hailstones and rains,” complained Jayabhan Singh Dhami of ward 5 of Vyas.
The hailstones damaged fruits, vegetables and crops mainly in Lekam, Vyas and Malikarjun rural municipalities and Mahakali and Shailyashikhar municipalities in Darchula. The agricultural units of the affected local bodies are yet to assess the damage caused by the hailstones.
The farmers complain that the unseasonal rains, hailstones and storms damage their fruits, vegetables and crops each year, but the authorities concerned are indifferent to providing compensation. The farmers have to bear the loss due to the lack of agriculture insurance.