Over 1.8 lakh hectares of farm land, spread over 1,269 villages in 16 districts have been reported to be affected by hail and thunderstorm in the last few days. Chana, jowar and standing crops of vegetables have been hit. Since Saturday, districts in Marathwada and Vidarbha region have been reporting hailstorms. While the hailstorm was particularly intense over the weekend, parts of Vidarbha and Marathwada had reported thunderstorms from Monday.
Preliminary reports of the agriculture department showed that till February 13, data about crop losses due to hailstorm were being received from 16 districts. Barring Jalgaon, almost all the affected districts are from Marathwada and Vidarbha. Fresh incidents were reported from Gondia, Nagpur, Bhandara, Wardha and Gadchiroli. Chana is the main crop that stands to be affected most as it was almost ready for harvesting. The crop was planted in October-November. Depending on date of sowing, the crop is either ready for harvest or already harvested and stored.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), a few places in Vidarbha would see light rains whereas dry and sunny weather prevailed over rest of Maharashtra. According to the latest IMD forecast, dry conditions will continue over the state till February 18. However, a rising trend most likely in minimum temperatures will make nights warmer than usual. Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar has said that compensation would be given to farmers who suffered crop loss. Leader of opposition in the upper house of the legislature, Dhananjay Munde, has demanded an announcement of Rs 50,000 as compensation for each of the affected farmers.