Snowfall damaged over 50% orchards in Bhadarwah
Bhadarwah, Feb 09: About 50 percent fruit orchards were damaged due to recent snowfall in this picturesque valley and adjoining areas in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, a senior government official said on Saturday.
Bhadarwah, along with Kellar, Bhallesa, Dessa, Chatroo and Marmat, experienced heavy snowfall between Wednesday and Friday.
"Nearly 50 percent of the fruit trees have suffered irreparable losses in the latest snowfall," Bhadarwah horticulture development officer Rohan Kumar said, quoting preliminary information received from the field staff.
Putting the loss suffered by the orchards in the snow-bound areas to about Rs 100 crore, Kumar asked the farmers not to let snow accumulate on trees.
"We appeal to the farmers not to let snow accumulate on trees and remove it as early as possible," he said.
The meteorological department has predicted another spell of snowfall from February 12.
After Kashmir, Chenab valley comprising Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban is the leading fruit producer in the state with Bhadarwah contributing 65 percent of the yield, including apple, pears, walnut and persimmon.
The Chenab valley region is reeling under darkness after the snowfall damaged the 132 KV Udhampur-Kishtwar power supply line and affected drinking water supply. It has cut off high altitude areas from the district headquarters.
However, 40 percent potable water supply has been restored in the Bhadarwah valley till Saturday afternoon, officials said.
"We did not expect such a heavy snowfall. We tried our best to save trees but the overnight snowfall damaged 70 percent of my orchard," president of Fruit Growers Association in Chinab valley Sheikh Mohammad Shafi said.
Shafi, a leading fruit grower from Bharoa-Bhadarwah, claimed "unlike Kashmir, we did not get any support from the government".
"We are not covered under Prime Minister's crop insurance scheme. I took the matter with Doda District Development Commissioner Anshul Garg during a fruit Mela in January but nothing has been done so for," he said.
Surinder Kumar, a resident of village Gajoth-Kellar, said 50 per cent of his orchard was completely damaged by snow.
"My family has spent 15 years of investment in the orchard and has no other source of income," Kumar said seeking intervention of the administration to bail out the orchardists.