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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
India braces for drought

Indian officials say the country is facing its worst drought in a decade.

The agriculture minister, Ajit Singh, said the lack of rain in some Indian states has hampered crop production.

But he said there would be no shortages because the country had sufficient stocks of grain.

At an emergency meeting with ministers from the twelve worst affected states, Mr Singh said the government was looking at relief measures including paying labourers to work on development projects. But he said he would wait until the drought-hit states had submitted reports on crop damage before deciding on forms of assistance.

While the northeastern state of Assam is facing floods, several states -- including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, southern Karnataka and western Rajasthan as well as Tamil Nadu -- are experiencing a serious shortage of rainfall.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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