The unusual spell of rain accompanied by gusty winds and hailstorms lashed many parts of the old undivided Karimnagar district on Saturday night causing widespread damage to paddy, mango, chilli and other crops in Choppadandi, Gangadhara, Karimnagar rural, Huzurabad and various other mandals.
The paddy and mango growers bore the brunt of nature’s fury for the second time this summer after witnessing a similar devastation caused by nature’s fury last month.
According to preliminary estimates, paddy crop was completely damaged in a little over 5,000 acres in various villages including Chamanpalli, Cherlabuthkur, Muqdumpur and Jublinagar in Karimnagar rural mandal alone. Hailstorms reportedly wreaked havoc on several mango orchards in the midst of summer season, dashing the hopes of mango growers of good returns.
Incidents of extensive damage to paddy, maize, mango and others crops were also reported from several villages in Jagtial, Mahabubabad, Jangaon and various other districts, which witnessed untimely rain and hailstorms on Saturday night.
In separate incidents, a toddy tapper and a youth were killed after being struck by lightning near Kondagattu in Jagtial district and Turkala Maddikunta village in Peddapalli district respectively late on Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, Minister for Civil Supplies and Backward Classes Welfare G Kamalakar visited some of the rain-affected villages in Karimnagar rural mandal on Sunday. He took stock of the situation and interacted with the distraught rain-hit farmers.
When a distressed farmer narrated the devastation of hailstorm that flattened the paddy crop in 25 acres of leased land, the minister assured all possible help from the State government.
The minister said the State government has already released ₹ 8.50 crore as relief for crop damages caused during the earlier spell of unseasonal rains in the district and the amount will be disbursed to the rain-hit farmers soon.
Enumeration of the crop damages in the latest spell of untimely rain and hailstorms will be completed expeditiously in two to three days and the report would be submitted to the State government to ensure succour to the rain-hit farmers at the earliest, he said.
He said Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao visited some of the rain/hailstorm ravaged agricultural and horticultural fields in the district last month and sanctioned ₹10,000 relief per acre to the rain-hit farmers.
The prompt opening of paddy procurement centres on April 10 this year helped reduce the crop damage to some extent in Saturday’s rain/hailstorm devastation.
He further said instructions have been issued to the Civil Supplies Department to procure the wet paddy soaked in unseasonal rain.