Shimla: Experimental anti hail guns installed in apple growing areas failing to prevent damages caused by hail on Tuesday has Himachal Kishan Sabha questioned the efficacy of the technology being tried out and has demanded compensation for the losses incurred.
Questioning the efficacy of the experiment, Sanjay Chauhan, secretary HKS said, despite an anti-hail gun firing away, the technology could not avert a hailstorm from causing maximum damage at Kathasu village of Jubbal, where the gun is located.
Three weeks ago, in a Kothkai village, hail caused much damage in close proximity of where another anti-hail gun is located, he said.
The sabha has asked for making an assessment of the loss incurred and the farmers be adequately compensated.
Instead of wasting public money on experiments with doubtful results, time tested anti hail nets should be subsidized and provided to the orchard owners, said Chauhan.
A late afternoon storm on Tuesday pounded orchards with hail in some apple belts of Jubbal, Rohru and Kotkhai.
Some of the hardest hit villages were Batargalu Naliban, Baddhal, Raika, Dhar and Poata villages of Jubbal. Orchard plantations in Astanai, Nawar and Chirgaon valleys of Rohru have also reportedly suffered extensive damage.
Installed under a pilot project, three anti hail guns installed in the area are reported to have fired cannon shots of ionizing shock waves in the air to disrupt damaging cloud formations but they proved ineffective in containing the damage.
Orchard owners at Katasu village in Jubbal, located within 200 meters of the anti hail gun on a ridge at Batagalu, are reported to have suffered maximum hail damages.
After spending Rs 2.35 crore from the public exchequer, the horticulture department awarded the contract to a Hyderabad based company for installing and commissioning an hail control system on a pilot basis.
Under the contract three anti-hails guns imported from a USA based company at Deorighat, Kathasu and Bareonghat villages have been installed.
While horticulture minister Narinder Bragta has been claiming the experiment to be a success but orchard owners close to the experimental areas have suffered extensive hail damages and the department has released no data to support its claims.