Hailstorm over the central parts of Maharashtra, Marathwada and parts of Vidarbha region claimed three lives, with state government officials saying that an assessment of the damage caused has been ordered. A senior revenue official said the hailstorm started around 7.30 am and continued for the next 30 minutes. According to officials, two men from Jalna and a woman from Washim died in the hailstorm. "Namdev Shinde, a 65-year-old farmer from Vanjar Umrad village in Jalna tehsil, and Asaram Jagtap (60), from Nivdunga village of Jafrabad tehsil, died today due to the hailstorm in Jalna district. As many as 180 villages from Jalna are badly hit," Collector of Jalna Shivajirao Jondhale told PTI. A senior officer of the revenue departments said, "Yamunabai Humbad (60) from Washim district died when she was at her farm." "The hailstorm has severely damaged crops including grapes, cotton, green gram and wheat among others.
A sizeable loss of cattle and poultry has been reported. The damage assessment report will be finalised in the next couple of days," said a revenue official from Aurangabad divisional commissionerate. State Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar, ordering assessment of the damage caused, said, "Every affected village should be visited, the losses should be documented and a report must be filed. The officials can email their final report to the state government." He said a meeting with crop insurance companies would be held at Mantralaya on Monday. Many districts such as Beed, Osmanabad, Latur, Nanded, Parbhani, Hingoli, Dhule, Nandurbar and Aurangabad also reported heavy rains this morning, revenue officials said. According to an agriculture department official, farm produce like wheat, oranges and grapes were severely damaged in some areas. Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said the victims should get compensation before the start of the state's Budget session, scheduled for February 26. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued an advisory that a hailstorm-like situation may develop over parts of Maharashtra. Taking note of the IMD advisory, the state government had asked farmers to be prepared for the untimely rains and hailstorm.