The rain and hailstorm accompanied by fast winds wreaked havoc with apple orchards in several villages in north Kashmir on Sunday causing massive damage to the growers.

The areas badly hit by the hailstorm are Watergam, Dangiwacha and Zainageer, where the growers pegged the losses to the orchards up to Rs 150 crore.

"The hailstorm not only damaged the year's early harvest, it also devastated the fruit-bearing trees," the growers said.

"There is no mechanism to measure the exact quantum of loss. But the rough estimates suggest that losses could be in the range of Rs 100 crore to Rs 150 crore this year alone," said Bashir Ahmad Basheer, chairman, Kashmir valley fruit growers cum dealers union, Srinagar.

On Sunday, the locals in north Kashmir were seen crying and beating their chests after witnessing the damage. "It is a huge loss. The vegetable crop and the apple orchards, which are in early stage of their harvest, have suffered massive damage," said Farooq Ahmad of WatergamRafiabad.

Growers said the hailstorm accompanied by stormy winds and strong rains destroyed almost entire apple crop in at least a dozen villages in north Kashmir.

"We request SKUAST Kashmir, Director Horticulture Development Kashmir and Director Horticulture Planning and Marketing to depute official teams to the affected areas to assess the damage," Bashir said.

He said Governor Satya Pal Malik and his Advisor incharge Horticulture should consider grant of compensation to the affected farmers.

President, Sopore Fruit Mandi, Fayaz Ahmad Malik said the orchard owners in northern Kashmir particularly in Rafiabad "have borne maximum brunt of the hailstorm."

"The losses are running in crores of rupees as growers had just sprinkled pesticides on the trees, spending lakhs of rupees on it. We have been appealing the authorities for years now for introducing crop insurance but to no avail," he said.