The farmers in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh faced the wrath of unseasonal rainfall and hailstorms that ravaged the standing rabi crops earlier this week.
Most of us would admit to having collected little globes of ice in a bottle after a shower of hailstones. As much as those little icy orbs have fascinated us, hailstorms have been known to cause serious damage to lives and livelihood.
However, the worst losers in the bargain are the farmers preparing for harvest, who end up losing most of their crops to the sudden onslaught of hailstorms.
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This week, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh faced the wrath of unseasonal rainfall and hailstorms that ravaged the standing rabi crops in the region. Besides a human death toll of 2, close to 500 birds were also found dead in the Bhandara and Gondia districts of Maharashtra.
While one does not stand a chance in front of the forces of nature, it is possible to figure out a solution that could perhaps bring a respite to not just farmers but also help save lives of countless birds and animals.
Two years ago, farmers in Himachal Pradesh had grappled with a similar situation and were losing their crops to hailstorms year after year. Unable to find any kind of financial support from the government, the farmers decided to pool in their own money and imported ‘Hail Cannons’ from New Zealand to put an end to hailstorms once and for all.
Also known as Hail guns, these contraptions are believed to disrupt the growth phase of hailstones in the atmosphere in the initial stage through a shock wave generator.
Through an explosive combustion of acetylene and oxygen that results in a shock wave travelling at the speed of sound, the cannon helps reduce the extent of damage as it is either slush or rain that falls instead of hailstones.
Given the extent of damage that Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have incurred, the installation of hail cannons could actually prove beneficial and lifesaving for countless farmers, who have no other alternative apart from agriculture to feed their families.
Policymakers have announced a loss compensation for the farmers in the region, but in place of this, if the state agricultural department can team up with farmers and install the anti-hail cannon guns in the region, the laborious investment made by every farmer can be saved, instead of going down the drain.
Additionally, this could help reduce the casualty of countless birds and animals who end up becoming hapless victims of the dangerous hailstorms.