Hailstorm damages kendu leaves: Pluckers in Sundergarh villages suffer loss

Sundergarh: The pre-monsoon rains have turned a nightmare for Kendu leaf pluckers of Sundergarh district.

The unseasonal rain accompanied with hailstorm has destroyed the cultivation of Kendu leaves in Khatugaon range in Bonai area of the district.

As if the ill-timed showers were not enough, insects and pests have added to the woes of locals who depend on Kendu leaf plucking for income.

“We will have to face a heavy loss this year. Due to the extreme heat of the sun, the leaves were already damaged and we had hence collected very few leaves. Whatever little was left was destroyed in the rain and hail storm”

—Sulochana Mohanta, a Kendu leaf plucker.

“The leaves have all been destroyed due to the insects and hailstorm. The torn leaves would not fetch us any price,” said Rina Nayak, another plucker.

Satya Narayan Mishra, Ranger of Rajamunda informed that the storm struck just when the leaves were ready to be plucked. “We were expecting a bumper crop this year but the Nor’wester triggered rain and insects have completely damaged the crop,” he said