The National Green Tribunal on Friday sought reports from the Delhi and Punjab governments on steps they intend to take to control air pollution, Live Law reported.

The tribunal issued notices to the Delhi chief secretary, the member secretary of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the Delhi municipal commissioner. It also sent notices to the Punjab chief secretary and the member secretary of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, seeking information about steps taken to control the burning of crop residue.

Air quality plunges in the winter months in Delhi, which is often ranked the world’s most polluted capital. Stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, along with falling temperatures, low wind speed and emissions from industries and coal-fired plants contribute to air pollution in the region.

The tribunal took note of a report published in The Hindu on October 6 and remarked that crop burning in autumn is a major contributor to air pollution.

The report said that Punjab had reported 656 farm fires from September 15 to October 4, as compared to 415 during the same period last year.

Taking note of the figures, the tribunal told the Punjab government to identify violaters and take remedial measures, including imposing penalties. It also directed the state government to prepare an area-wise Crop Residue Management Plan to reduce stubble burning.

Between September 15 and October 21, Punjab recorded 1,764 rice residue burning events, while Haryana recorded 689, The Indian Express reported, quoting data from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.

Delhi on Saturday recorded an air quality index of 248, in the “poor” category. The Commission for Air Quality Management has predicted that air quality may enter the “very poor” category on October 23 and 24 because of “unfavourable meteorological and climatic conditions”.