The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has collected a total of Rs 17 lakh, as fine, this year, from several residential and commercial establishments for violation of dengue guidelines within their premises while the civic body today carried out a trial run of a drone that will carry out rooftop surveillance, collect water samples, and even spray larvicides to destroy mosquito larvae in places that remain inaccessible to civic body vector control teams.

The KMC has been working on a war footing in controlling the outbreak of dengue that has seen a spurt in the recent months.

The civic body has been conducting antidengue drives in all its 144 wards and councillors have been instructed to carry out awareness campaigns in their respective wards. In the city, as per KMC sources, the number of affected has already crossed 2,500 while the state government says that the total number of affected in the state has crossed 44,000. It has been observed time and again that several establishments, residential or commercial, violate dengue guidelines by not keeping their premises clean, including cleaning up of stagnant water which make for a good mosquito breeding ground.

Hence, last year, an amendment was made to the civic body rules which enabled KMC to lodge cases against offenders in the municipal court which can then impose a maximum fine amount of Rs 1 lakh on the offenders.

Asked how much fine amount has been collected by KMC this year for violation of dengue guidelines, the deputy mayor and MMIC health, Mr Atin Ghosh, said: “This year the civic body has collected a total of Rs 17 lakh from the offenders. All the collected fine amounts, this year, has built upto this final figure. The KMC, however, cannot impose fines but it is the municipal court that has the power to do so.”

A KMC official said the fine amounts are deposited in the civic body’s treasury.

The civic body, meanwhile, today conducted trial runs of a drone on the rooftop of the KMC headquarters at SN Banerjee Road.

The drone, named ‘Vinash’, was flown to the rooftop of the adjacent Futnani Chambers building. It is learnt that it could reach a height of 200 metres above the ground.

Speaking about the drone operation, Mr Ghosh said “These drones can reach locations where our foot-workers don’t have access to. The drones will reach these inaccessible locations, take pictures, and collect water samples to bring it back to the civic body so that it can be tested in the laboratory to confirm whether it contains any mosquito larvae. If detected, then these drones will go to the spot concerned and spray larvicide on the breeding ground.”

Commenting on the operation cost, the deputy mayor said “The rate is based on usage time. The bill will be generated on the basis of the number of hours we operate the drone.”