New Delhi, April 29: At least 330 million people have been affected by drought in India, the Centre has told the Supreme Court.
The worse part is the number could go up still further since some states facing the water shortage are yet to submit their status reports. [River-interlinking needed to prevent droughts and floods]
The situation is deteriorating across the country as heat waves continue to blow with the mercury crossing 40 degrees for a substantial period now. In a tragic incident, a 11-year-old girl died while fetching water from a village punp in Maharashtra---the state which has been hit the worst. Medical reports said she died of heatstroke and dehydration. The girl waited four hours in the sun to fetch water from the pump, which is located close to her house. [NGO pitches in with relief aid 3 drought-hit states]
Over 250 districts in the country have been affected by the drought, the government said. Schools have remained closed in Odisha, which has been badly hit with more than 100 people dying because of heatstroke. In the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, over 2,000 lives have been lost in the heat. [UP sets up drought-monitoring cell]
Trains carrying water were being sent to the drought-affected area in Latur district of Maharashtra. Matches of the ongoing Indian Premier League were also shifted from the western state following an outcry over 'wasting' water to prepare pitches.
In Chandigarh, it was said fines would be imposed if anybody was seen washing their vehicles or watering gardens.