The death toll in the heatwave sweeping the country has reached nearly 800 with temperatures nearing 50°C in some regions.
Most deaths have taken place in the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where more than 750 people have died so far since last week. While 551 people died in Andhra Pradesh, at least 213 people were reported dead in Telangana.
Reports state 24 people have died from the heat in West Bengal and Orissa.
Hospitals are on the alert to treat heatstroke patients and authorities have advised people to stay indoors.
The meteorological department has issued a warning for Orissa, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh states saying that maximum temperatures there would remain above 45C. Met officials said the heatwave was due to a lack of rain.
There are fears that some of the worst-affected states could be hit by drought before the monsoon rains arrive. The monsoon is expected to hit the southern state of Kerala towards the end of this month before sweeping across the country.
In Andhra Pradesh, where 551 persons have died so far, temperatures have climbed up to 47°C. The government of Andhra Pradesh said the situation caused by heat wave was alarming. He also announced an aid of Rs 1 lakh for the families of victims of heat wave.
“The government has taken up education programmes through TV and other media to advise people not to venture into the sun without a cap, to drink water and other measures,” P Tulsi Rani, special commissioner for disaster management, said.
“We have also requested NGOs and government organisations to open up drinking water camps so that drinking water will be readily available for all the people in the towns,” he added.
In neighbouring Telangana state, 215 people have died in the last week as temperatures hit 48°C over the weekend.
Delhi is enduring a week of sweltering heat as the maximum temperature in the city hit a two-year high of 45.5°C.