With rainfall in Uttar Pradesh nearly 58 percent below average so far this monsoon, the spectre of drought looms large over parts of the state. According to the agriculture department, the yield of paddy is expected to drop by 35-40 percent.
The government has now advised farmers to sow coarse grains that need less water.
Opposition parties have demanded that Uttar Pradesh be declared drought-hit.
Of the 71 districts in the state, rainfall in 12 has been 80 prcent below average, while it has been 40 percent below average in 31 more districts.
And the state's weather office here does not hold out hope for heavy rain in the next few days to make up the deficit.
"As the systems forming over the Bay of Bengal are getting tilted southwest, dry weather conditions are prevailing in parts of Uttar Pradesh," state meteorological director J.P. Gupta told IANS.
From June 1 to July 22 this year, the average rainfall per district has been 125.9 mm whereas it should have been 298.7 mm to keep up with the long-term average.
Regions of western Uttar Pradesh have been worst hit by the prevailing weather conditions. In western Uttar Pradesh, from June 1-July 22, rainfall has been 139.9 mm, which is 58 percent below average.
During the same period, rainfall in the state capital of Lucknow has been 57 percent below average. In Kanpur, it was 49 percent below average, in Allahabad 39 percent and in Varanasi 51 percent below average.