Unseasonal rains, hailstorm bring death and destruction in various parts of India

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New Delhi:  Unseasonal rains, hailstorm in the plains and snowfall in the northern region of the country over the last few days have paralysed normal lives and destroyed standing crops causing huge losses to the farmers.

In Maharashtra, at least 15 people and over 400 animals have died in the rains and hailstorm which have impacted nearly 75 per cent of the state's agricultural community. The storm threatens to destroy nearly 5000 crore rupees worth of wheat, jowar and fruit crops.

Most farmers in the state, who had taken heavy loans to escape the previous years' drought crises, have turned to the government for help.

In Punjab, wheat crops at several places including Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Nawanshahar, Mohali, Tarn Taran and in Palwal and Yamunanagar in neighbouring Haryana were flattened because of rain and high velocity winds.

Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh were also affected even as the state governments sought relief from the Centre hoping the model code of conduct in force for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will not be a hindrance in providing relief to tens of thousands of farmers.

Meanwhile, at least eight people died and several others injured in avalanches and incidents of house collapse in Jammu and Kashmir. The Srinagar-Jammu highway remained closed for the third day today.

Higher reaches like north Kashmir's Gulmarg ski resort and south Kashmir's Sonamarg hill station recorded four feet of fresh snow. No flights could be operated to and from Srinagar on Tuesday because of bad weather.

The temperatures remained below the freezing point at most places in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh with widespread snow and rain over the past two days.

In Delhi, it was a sunny, pleasant Wednesday morning after two days of intermittent showers. More rains are expected, weathermen said.

The maximum temperature in the national capital settled two notches below the season's average at 26.8 degrees Celsius while the minimum was a notch above the average at 15.2 degrees Celsius.


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