Shimla, May 15: With the recent spell of hailstorms in Himachal Pradesh, apple growers have rested their hopes on divine intervention. Different villagers in the valley have offered prayer to their local deities to protect their crop from the hailstorm.
While some chose to check the meteorological department website for the latest climate updates, there were others who chose the divine way of appeasing the gods.
Hailstorms are said to have damaged crops in Rohru, Kotkhai, Jubbal, Kotgarh, Rampur, Kholighat, Baghi, Ratnari, Tikkar and Matiana in Shimla. Some of the other areas of Mandi and Kullu districts have also received hailstorms in the past one month.
The native of Bhajhain village in Rohru subdivision have sought the local intervention of Mangradu. People here believe that if adolescent girls went on fast to appease the deity, the latter answers their prayers.
'Tikkar Puja', a ritual that is performed in Mandalgarh valley in Rohru requires the villagers to go up high hills and make different offerings to the presiding deity.
Meanwhile, the Shimla met department revealed that the sudden hailstorm can be attributed to fresh western disturbances. Department director Manmohan Singh said,"Fresh western disturbance is expected from May 17 onwards and in the next 24 hours, thunderstorm and heavy rain is expected in mid-altitude areas."
The horticulture sector in the state has suffered a loss of Rs 25 crore. 10 crore of it was lost in hailstorms. Apple alone contributes to around 4% of the state's economy.