By: ML Verma
Shimla (July 18): Himachal Pradesh would miss last year’s apple production by two crore boxes (each box weighting 20 kg) as it was adversely hit by weather vagaries this year.
Addressing media persons here today, Himachal Pradesh horticulture director Gurdev Singh said that apple production, which had crossed about 4.50 crore boxes last years, is likely to be remain at 2.50 crore this year. He said that total loss of fruit crops has been estimated to be around Rs 347 crore. He disclosed said that apple production is likely to come down to 9 lakh metric tonne per hectare this year from 11 lakh MT tonne of last years.
Facing volleys of queries about failure of anti-hail cannon system, Singh termed the project partial success as it could not achieve 100 percent success owing to challenging inclement weather, which destroyed fruit crop worth Rs 147 crore in areas where three anti-hail canons were installed.
It is worthwhile to mention here that M/s Newton System International had been shortlisted by the state government last years to import sound shock wave based anti-hail canons. The guns were installed in Barionghat( Khotkhai) Kahtasuo (Jubbal) and Deorighat (Tikkar) and guided by radar system installed at Kharapather in Shimla district.
Giving a clarification about not achieving expected target, the official said that this year the state witnessed 38 hailstorms more than the normal. He detailed that 62 hailstorms were witnessed at Barionghat area where the first cannon was installed and it exploded 4,175 times for 41 hours, followed by 45 hailstorms at Deorighat where 5,002 anti-hail gun shots were used for 50 hours to knock down hail clouds.
The official said that entire anti9hail canon system cost Rs 2.89 crore to the government and it would be replicated in Mandi and others fruit growing areas in the state after its 100 percent success. Eight districts in Himachal Pradesh come under apple cultivation, supporting livelihoods of 3 lakh households.
It should be named as Shock gun as it jolting state government rather hail clouds is n’t it
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