Horticulture Minister Vidya Stokes indicated to scrap the plan to install more anti-hail guns, which were installed by the previous BJP government to protect fruit crops from hailstorms, in state.
Previous government had installed three anti-hail guns in Deorighat, Kathasu and Braionghat (on a pilot basis) under an Rs.3.29 crore central government-funded project to protect apples from hailstorms during the flowering and fruit setting season. However they failed to deliver desired results in past two years.
Horticulture Minister expressed doubts over the worthiness of the anti-hail guns and stated that the government would not make use of three guns installed in 2010 in Shimla district.
Vidya Stokes said that the Govt will study the worthiness of the guns and will take decision according to the finding for the future of these guns. She added that till now (as per our feedback and experience) these anti hail guns have failed to provide protection to crops from natural calamities. Minister also raised doubts over its technology as various studies suggest that these anti-hail guns, which create shock waves to disrupt formation of hailstones, are not environment friendly and are possibly disturbing the weather. However she stated that before taking any decision in this regard, local farmers would be consulted.
Every year hailstorms damage 20-30 percent of vegetable and fruit crops in the state and Minister said that anti hail nets could be a better and stable solution of the natural calamities. Stokes said the government was planning to increase the subsidy on nets to 80 percent.