Narender Bragta, the Horticulture Minister in wake of the presentation by the Spain MNC in order to check hailstorm losses in the regional areas announced that the state government has requested the Centre to sanction funds about 27 crores for installation of hail control system in the fruit-growing belt of Shimla, Kullu, Mandi and Chamba districts, for these are most hail prone areas of the State as well.
He said that the government proposes to set up four hail control systems comprising of 40 anti hail guns/cannons with 4 radar systems for covering 4000 hectare fruit/vegetable growing area of the State to have an estimated saving of 45.92 crores per year after the installation of the system. He said that State records total 64000 MT apple productions from 4000 hectare area annually and at an average, 9600 MT of the production is lost due to hail stones which reach up to 20.50 crores loss per year in monetary terms. He added that around 35 percent qualitative loss is recorded in fruits due to hailstones and according to rough estimate, 22400 MT apple crop receives qualitative loss, which comes out to 25.42 crores per annum. He told that hailstone is one of the major calamities, which results in substantial economic loss to the farmers by damaging the horticulture crops, particularly apple and vegetable crops, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Adding that the installation of anti-hail nets and removal is labor intensive due to tough geographical and topographical conditions, the practice suffers from limitations like heavy costs and limited life span, the Minister urged the government to consider all the conditions.