While Delhi continues to grapple with deteriorating air quality, Punjab and Haryana recorded an increase of at least 2,400 farm fires, a major contributor to the air pollution in the national capital, till October 27, according to government data.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor, SAFAR, on Monday predicted that the share of smoke from stubble burning in Delhi's PM 2.5 concentration is likely to jump to 25 percent on Tuesday. It was 15 percent on Monday.
The number of farm fires surged despite the central government issuing strict directions to Haryana and Punjab last week to stop stubble burning completely.
Most cases of paddy residue burning were reported in the last four days, according to data from the pollution control boards of Punjab and Haryana.
Punjab reported an increase of around 25 percent in farm fires.
According to data from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), the state recorded 9,600 incidents of stubble burning till October 27 last year. This year, the figure has shot up to 12,027.
Tarn Taran alone has reported 1,863 incidents of farm fires. Ferozpur and Patiala have recorded 1,248 and 1,236 cases, respectively.
A significant rise in stubble burning was recorded on October 26 and 27. While 2,805 cases were reported on October 26, the number on October 27 touched the 2,231 mark.
Haryana witnessed 3,735 farm fires as compared to 3,705 last year.
Karnal, Kaithal and Kurukshetra have reported 824, 818 and 645 incidents of stubble burning, respectively, till October 27.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research on Monday said, "Haryana and Punjab stubble fire counts are increasing, and the transport level wind direction is favorable for plume transport (northwesterly). The biomass-related contribution may touch this year's peak value.