Lucknow, India - Another 11 people have died from lightning strikes and heavy rains in India, officials have said, taking the death toll since the monsoon began lashing the country last month to 215.

"At least 11 people died of rain-related incidents in the past 24 hours. Two died due to house collapse while the rest died of lightning," government official Manish Awasthi told AFP in Lucknow, capital of northern Uttar Pradesh state.

At least 80 people have died in the state as annual summer monsoon rains tore through India earlier than usual.

Western Maharashtra state has also been badly hit with 74 deaths reported so far, mainly from lightning, while a few people drowned at sea.

In July 2005, hundreds of people perished when the state capital Mumbai was hit by record rainfalls.

In the northeastern state of Assam, some 600,000 people were displaced by floods earlier this month but the waters have begun to recede and many people are returning to their homes, officials said.

The monsoon hit India's Andaman archipelago on May 18 and then swirled up the west coast states of Kerala, Maharashtra and Gujarat. It is expected to reach northern states this week.