The Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) has hike the amount of fine slapped on those violating dengue-prevention guidelines in the town that have been in place ever since the disease claimed several lives last year.

The civic body has decided to take stronger measures against builders and constructors if they are found violating the safety guidelines rolled out against dengue.

A fine of Rs 1 lakh could now be slapped on such builders, civic body officials said on Friday. Earlier, such fines amounted anything from Rs 50 to Rs 1000. During surveys, it was found that construction sites were potent breeding sites for mosquitoes, Siliguri Mayor Asok Bhattacharya said on Friday.

“Our focus is on the epicentre of dengue, which is the mosquito larvae present in stagnant fresh water mostly at construction sites. Unused articles at these sites where water accumulates are quite-breeding grounds. Hence, to avoid such situations, we have increased the fine amount slapped on offenders,” he said.

“We will also seek permission from the civil aviation department to fly drones for identifying mosquito breeding grounds on top of high-rise buildings to tackle dengue,” Mr Bhattacharya added.

Notably, the civic body has roped in a class XI student of Siliguri, Rajib Ghosh, in its fight against dengue. Ghosh, the son of a tea stall owner, has developed a drone with inputs he gathered from the Internet, and the machines can fly up to 200 meters.

To tackle Dengue in the town, each borough area will start organizing workshops focusing on awareness from April. The SMC will also conduct cleanliness drives from May, said Mr Bhattacharya.

“Each borough will conduct awareness programmes, assisted by a doctor from the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH). For cleanliness, 165 workers have been appointed on a daily basis.” He added.

The mayor further said that he will also hold meetings with government officials, the Siliguri apartment committee, schools and other organizations where they will be asked to remain on an alert to maintain a healthy environment and look for ways to control mosquito breeding.