In what could add to pollution woes of Delhi'ites, stubble burning incidents were recorded in Uttar Pradesh on Friday for the first time this season after Punjab and Haryana where such practice is rampant, authorities said.
The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) under the Earth Sciences Ministry said the highest fire count was observed from the northwest region of the country comprising Rajasthan and UP.
According to the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), fire counts were detected from Uttar Pradesh in addition to that from Punjab and Haryana.
An official said this is the first time this season that stubble burning was detected in Uttar Pradesh.
Till now, such incidents were observed in Punjab and Haryana but now even Uttar Pradesh has started stubble burning, he said.
The SAFAR also gave out a map which showed several incidents of fire in UP, Haryana and Punjab.
Delhi's air quality nosedived to an alarming level in the past two weeks and is currently oscillating between 'very poor' and 'severe' categories, SAFAR said.
IITM noted that due to calm winds the impact of the stubble burning might not be seen.
"Contribution from biomass fire is likely to be marginal on Friday and further for the next two days because of poor dispersion and stagnant meteorological conditions," it said.
The Delhi government has been repeatedly urging neighbouring state governments to provide subsidies to farmers to consider a substitute for stubble burning.
The Delhi Environment Minister has called for "seriousness" from the neighbouring states on the issue of pollution plaguing the national capital.
Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday called for an "aggressive plan" to combat pollution in a crucial meeting that was skipped by environment ministers of four states around Delhi, including Haryana and Punjab.
The meeting was called ahead of Diwali to discuss the plan for the next ten days when the pollution level is expected to spike in the national capital due to localised reasons and regional factors such as stubble burning. He underlined that despite a decrease in incidents of stubble burning by 30 per cent from the previous year, more needs to be done.
Officials from four states -- Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh -- and Delhi's Environment Minister Imran Hussain took part in the meet, where Vardhan asked the Delhi government to ensure 100 per cent stoppage of open burning of domestic and industrial wastes.
(With inputs from agencies.)