The Centre on Tuesday said stubble burning was going on in Haryana and Punjab despite the Supreme Court’s strictures against it. Crop burning has caused air pollution levels in the Delhi-National Capital Region to shoot up since last week.

The two states have been directed to deploy more monitoring teams to ensure that violators are penalised, the government said after a review meeting chaired by the Union cabinet secretary. There was a need for more “focussed” action to combat pollution, the government added.

According to the Centre, different agencies have been coordinating efforts to combat air pollution in Delhi, but pointed to a need for enhanced efforts to control the situation. Punjab and Haryana have also been asked to ensure they are fully prepared to meet any emergency.

Air quality in Delhi continued to remain in the “very poor” and “severe” categories on Tuesday, according to the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research. On Sunday, pollution had been at the season’s worst level.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court registered on its own a case related to the alarming rise in pollution in Delhi-NCR. The hearing will take place on Wednesday. The court has summoned Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev, and his counterparts from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The court said authorities cannot allow a mass exodus of people afraid about severe pollution cutting down their life span.

The court has asked the Delhi government to produce, by Friday, evidence that its odd-even vehicles scheme is working.

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