At least 28 people, including women and children, were killed across Uttar Pradesh due to untimely rains accompanied by the hailstorm in the last 24 hours, officials confirmed on Friday. It has also caused massive damage to the standing rabi crops of wheat, potato, and mustard.
The state has been witnessing rain and thunderstorms from Thursday, continuing in several parts.
Pilibhit, Sitapur, Chandauli, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Bijnor and Jaunpur were some of the districts that have been severely affected by the inclement weather conditions.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has asked all the district magistrates to assess the damage to the crops, cattle and directed them to provide immediate relief to the affected people. He has also ordered compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of those killed in the rain-related incidents.
Addressing the reporters in Lucknow, Information Department Director Shishir said: “In Uttar Pradesh, 28 people have died in incidents related to rain and hailstorm in the past 24 hours.”
Those killed during hailstorms include six each in Sitapur and Lakhimpur Kheri, three each in Jaunpur and Barabanki, two in Sonbhadra and one each in Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Siddharth Nagar, Ayodhya, Chandauli, Kanpur Dehat, Mirzapur and Balrampur.
In Sitapur district, two girls and a woman were among those killed, the officials said.
In one incident, a man, identified as Ram Prasad (55), died after a tree fell on him during a hailstorm. He had taken shelter under a tin shed in Sidhauli police station area during the hailstorm.
In another incident, a 15-year-old girl in Rampurkalan police station area died as a wall collapsed due to the rains, police said.
Another 14-year-old girl was killed in Sadarpur police station area after a tree fell on her during heavy rains and thunderstorm, they said.
A man and his son were struck by lightning in Sandana police station area. The boy later died at the Community Health Centre.
A 40-year-old woman, identified as Daya, also died in Sandana police station area after a wall of her house collapsed and fell on her due to the heavy rains, the police said, adding that an unidentified person was also killed in a rain-related incident in the district.
CM’s Compensation: ‘A Hollow Promise’
Shyam Singh Chahar, a farmer leader from Agra, said: “More than a hundred farmers have died within a week due to the hailstorms, but according to the government, this figure is only 28.Sixty to seventy percent of crops are damaged. But again, the government’s figure showed only 25%. When the farmers held protests, they raised it to 30%. It should be noted that if the crops have not been damaged more than 33%, farmers won’t get a single penny as compensation. This is how this government is harassing the farmers.”
Slamming the government, insurance companies and banks for their shoddy behaviour, the farmer leader further added, “When the farmers had applied for loans and consulted insurance companies at the same time, they did not put forward any conditions at that time. Now, when the farmers’ crops are damaged, they are citing conditions like ‘if the entire village has witnessed more than 60% damage, only then compensation will be given’. There is one block comprising 60 villages and the rainfall will not be at all the places at the same time. This is how these banks and insurance companies, on the behest of the government, are twisting things and making the situation worse for the farmers.”
He also alleged that due to this mental and physical harassment, at least 65 farmers from Agra itself have committed suicide. “And not a single family has received any compensation. Instead, they (the district administration) cover up the deaths and claim falsely that they died because of family problems, hypertension, loans, etc.”
Several farmers NewsClick spoke to said that the policies of the government are not uniform throughout, and as a result, farmers end up not getting compensation.
While the rain has made dry wheat moist and facilitated germination harming the produce, hailstorms have caused physical harm to the crops and affected their growth, said farmers. The inclement weather was likely to affect the Mango-producing belt in Lucknow as well, they apprehended.
Another farmer, Prem Singh of Banda, also accused the government and the district administration of manipulating the data. “Here in Banda district, more than 40% crops have been damaged, but the report submitted by the district administration to the government shows only 5%. Effect of hailstorm on mangoes will be clear after 15 days.”
“Ever since the Yogi government came to power, more than 200 farmers have committed suicide but not a single family got any compensation,” he alleged.