India, Sept. 7 -- Odisha government on Monday told the state assembly that standing crops in at least 102 of the 314 blocks of Odisha have been affected by the rainfall deficit even as former chief minister Hemananda Biswal conducted a puja at his village to "propitiate the rain gods".

Responding to a discussion on the rain deficit affecting crops in the state, Odisha revenue minister Sudam Marndi on Tuesday said the current situation was a matter of concern and the state government will take necessary steps. "Though the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had predicted normal monsoon rain in the country this year, it has not proved true for Odisha. What has worsened matters for us is huge deficiency of rains in August," said Marndi. ...