Flash floods and heavy monsoon rains which have already killed more than a dozen people over the past four days in Orissa have also hit farming in the state, officials said on Thursday.
Rains continued to lash many part of the state for the fifth consecutive day on Thursday although the weather conditions have improved in parts of the coastal belt including state capital Bhubaneswar and adjoining Cuttack.
Orissa's Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management Surya Narayan Patro said at least 23 rain-related deaths have been reported so far from different regions, eight of them during past the 24 hours. He said 15 deaths have been confirmed.
He said the situation is likely to improve soon as water levels in most of the rivers are receding.
Orissa is one of the major rice-growing states in India, with about four million hectares under paddy cultivation. Over 62 per cent of the cropped area in the state is rain-fed. Officials said sowing has been completed in only 33 per cent of the area.
"The Kharif sowing has slowed down in the past few days due to excessive rainfall in parts of the state," agriculture and food production director Arabinda Kumar Padhee told IANS.
The flash floods have submerged nearly 7,000 hectares including 6,400 hectares in the district of Nayagarh and 250 hectares in Jagatsinghpur district.
He said farmers who have suffered losses would be suitably compensated by the government.
Heavy rains have also slowed down the cargo handling operation in Paradip port, about 120 km from Bhubaneswar, a senior port official said.
"The cargo shipment and discharge has been affected slightly for past two-three days," said the official, who did not want to be named.