The dust storm that hit northern parts of the country on Sunday has damaged mango plantations, putting farmers in trouble at a time when it’s the peak season for the fruit harvest.
Farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow say the losses incurred by them could run as high as 40 per cent of the harvest.
“We have suffered a huge loss as 40 per cent of mangoes are damaged. It can be only used to make pickle now. All farmers and planters are left in the lurch. Mangoes are the only source of income for us,” said a farmer in Lucknow.
Most of the mangoes damaged in the dust storm were the ones that were ready for harvesting.
“These mangoes will have to be sold at Re 1 or Rs 2. It could only be used for making pickles. These mangoes are completely useless now,” another farmer said.
They farmers say their entire year was dependent on this harvest, and it appears impossible for them to recover the cost now.
“Had the storm hit even after 10 days, we would not have suffered such a huge loss. The entire year we work hard and a natural calamity destroys everything in one night,” another farmer said.
The met department has warned of more thunderstorms in north, north-east and parts of south India for the next two days. The thunderstorm and dust storm on Sunday left behind a trail of destruction in four states, killing 53 people and injuring many, according to the home ministry.
Thirty-nine people have died in Uttar Pradesh alone, while nine were killed in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday. The storm brought down walls, uprooted trees and snapped power connection in many regions. More than 70 incoming flights were diverted from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport last evening. The violent weather affected train and metro services in Delhi and its suburbs.
A LOW PRESSURE AREA HAS FORMED OVER SOUTHWEST ARABIAN SEA WITH ASSOCIATED CYCLONIC CIRCULATION EXTENDING UPTO 4.5 KM ABOVE MEAN SEA LEVEL. IT IS LIKELY TO MOVE WEST NORTHWESTWARDS TOWARDS GULF OF ADEN AND ADJOINING AREAS AND CONCENTRATE INTO A DEPRESSION DURING NEXT 48 HOURS. pic.twitter.com/kMEN259rrI
— India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) May 14, 2018
“The storm will continue for the next 48 to 72 hours,” said Charan Singh, scientist at the Indian Meteorological Department.