M. Karuppampatti, a sleepy hamlet in Mettupalayam panchayat, about 80 km from here, was jolted when a gale struck the region on Friday afternoon flattening the banana orchards and maize crops and damaging a number of tiled houses and asbestos-roofed buildings. This village is part of Thathaiyengerpettai panchayat union in Musiri taluk.
Although material devastation is not much, the village resembles war-ravaged region. Many of those in Indira Colony, an Adi Dravida habitation, have been left with no roof over their heads. Almost 10 families had to take refuge at a community hall and most of their belongings, including provisions and vessels, have been blown away.
“Never have we witnessed such winds of high intensity accompanied by hail storm,” N. Yoganathan, president of the town panchayat, told The Hindu on Saturday.
It was around 3.30 p.m. that the high velocity winds swept across the hamlet. It lasted half-an-hour. And the rains lashed the region about 45 minutes. “I have raised maize on about 10 acres of land and half of it is totally lost in the gale,” Mr. Yoganathan says. It was a strange irony that many farmers have escaped huge crop loss because they could not go in for any crop because of the acute water scarcity in the region. This has proved a blessing in disguise. Otherwise, they would have been caught napping in this gale, he said.
Sarada, a farmer, who had raised banana on about an acre of land, laments at least 400 to 500 trees of the total 750 have been severely damaged and “I have lost about Rs. 50,000.”
V. Karnan and S. Sivakumar, farmers, said a number of sheds put up by the agriculturists in their fields have been destroyed.
The town panchayat president estimates that at least 50 houses, including huts and tiled houses, were damaged. The worst affected were those living in the Indira Colony. As soon as he told the district administration, the Revenue Divisional Officer, Musiri, deputed a team of officials to inspect the village and assess the damage and these officials spent at almost three hours up to 9 p.m., Mr. Yoganathan said.
Asked whether the rains on Friday helped farmers, he responded in the negative saying that it would all dry up in a few days.