There was no respite from toxic smog for Indian capital New Delhi despite a halt on construction activities and a slew of measures undertaken by the state and federal government as the air quality remained in ‘very poor’ category.

Toxic smog has started to envelope vast swathes of northern India, including New Delhi, as it does each year when winter approaches and farmers burn off the residue of crops.

Pollution levels in the city hovered around ‘very poor’ levels with air quality readings at 380, six times more than the normal or satisfactory levels.

A number of joggers and early risers complained of breathing difficulties and aggravated coughs, tiny particulate matter that reaches deep into the lungs, remained alarmingly high.

India has aimed to reduce stubble burning that is a major source of pollution during the winter months by 70 percent in its top two farm states this year, but experts questioned whether the target was credible.