Kashmir farmers hit by freak summer | SupportBiz

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Kashmir farmers hit by freak summer

The unexpected fall in temperatures on June 9, followed by rains in the plains and fresh snowfall in the hills, is causing serious concern among farmers and fruit growers in the Kashmir Valley. The weather office is blaming western disturbances, an extra tropical storm, for the freak summer.

"A western disturbance has been causing thundershowers in the plains and snowfall in the higher reaches of late. The fall in the temperatures is because of fresh snowfall in the higher reaches," the Director of Srinagar's weather office, Sonam Lotus, told IANS.

"There has been another snowfall in the Amarnath cave shrine area," he added. The minimum temperature fell to 11.3 degrees celsius in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, the disturbance has started weakening, which means that the weather will now start improving gradually.

In the next few days, the weather is expected to be dry, except for some isolated thundershowers, Lotus said.

Western disturbance is an extra tropical storm in the Mediterranean Sea that causes sudden rainfall and snow in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Western disturbances are important for the development of rabi and khariff crops.

The minimum temperature was 11.2 degrees celsius in Srinagar on June 9, three degrees below normal. It was 2.5 in Gulmarg, which is seven degrees below normal. Pahalgam recorded 8.3 degrees celsius.

The steep fall in temperatures and intermittent rains are worrying farmers and fruit growers.

"Paddy transplantation operations are time-bound. In any case, the shifting of the nurseries to the fields must be completed before June 21," said Ghulam Muhammad Magray, 45, a farmer in north Kashmir's Ganderbal district.

"The transplantation has been delayed. Because of the dip in temperatures, the nurseries have started turning yellow, which is a bad sign," he added.

Fruit growers of the valley, mainly those in Baramulla district, complain that the fruit crop has suffered immensely because of recent hailstorms.

"Many apple orchards have suffered huge losses. Now, the fall in temperatures will delay growth and maturing. This summer seems to be a freakish one," said Mushtaq Ahmad Bacha, 39, a fruit grower in Sopore town.