Three killed as rains, hailstorm lash Maharashtra

Mumbai, Feb 12 (IANS) Three persons were killed and crops spanning over large tracts of agriculture land damaged due to unseasonal heavy rains and hailstorm which lashed several parts of Maharashtra, Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar said on Monday.

Three persons hit by hailstones lost their lives since Sunday.

The deceased have been identified as Namdev Shinde (70) Asaram Jagtap (65) — killed in separate incidents in Jalna district — and Yamuna Humbade, who was struck by hailstones when she was on her way to a temple in Hingoli district.

According to officials, standing crops on a staggering 124,294 hectares in 1,086 villages across 11 districts have been badly hit due to heavy rains and hailstorm.

“The worst-hit districts are Buldhana, Amravati and Jalna. The major crops damaged over large tracts of agriculture lands include wheat, green gram, jowar, onion and various fruits of the Rabi season,” Fundkar said.

Other districts which took a severe beating from rains and hailstones include Beed, Parbhani, Jalgaon, Amravati, Akola, Washim, Latur, Osmanabad and Hingoli — all falling in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.

Residents in affected areas said the hailstones were as large as tennis balls.

Fundkar on Sunday ordered the Revenue and Agriculture Department officials to carry out a survey to assess the extent of destruction.

While the preliminary reports were received on Monday, the detailed surveys will be completed and compiled within the next couple of days, officials said.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department has forecast more rains and hailstorms in parts of Vidarbha and Marathwada regions over the next two days.

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