UP Assembly session begins under Covid shadow

Lucknow, Aug 20 (IANS) The three-day Monsoon Session of the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha is starting on Thursday under strict Covid-19 protocols.

The Assembly session will have only two working days since the duration of the session has been curtailed because of the pandemic.

Assembly Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit said, “The Assembly administration is taking all the precautions to prevent an outbreak in the Assembly. Last week, 600 staff members of the House were asked to take coronavirus tests and 20 of them were found to be positive for the virus. All Ministers, Legislators will also be allowed entry only after they undergo the Covid test.”

In the tests conducted for the Assembly session, state minister Chaudhary Udaibhan Singh and five Legislators have tested positive for Covid-19.

Chief Medical Officer of Lucknow, Dr. R.P. Singh, said, “The minister has been admitted to the Rajdhani Covid Hospital at Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, where a team of doctors is taking care of him.”

Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Tejpal Nagar and Sanju Devi, and an MLC, Parvez Ali, also tested positive according to the Vidhan Sabha officials.

Most of the elderly Legislators in both the Houses of the state Legislature will not be attending the session in view of the pandemic.

Leader of opposition in the Assembly, Ram Govind Chaudhary, who has recently recovered from the coronavirus and Ahmad Hasan, leader of opposition in the Vidhan Parishad, are among those who will not attend the session.

However, the Samajwadi Party has said that it will demand a debate on the Covid-19 management, deteriorating law and order situation, problems of farmers and the flood fury.

The Assembly, on Thursday, will adjourn after making obituary references. Two ministers Chetan Chauhan and Kamal Ran Varun have died this month due to the Covid virus. Nearly a dozen ministers have also tested positive for corona.

Assembly officials have ensured that social distancing is maintained inside the House.

Seating areas have been specially marked with Covid-19 protocols. The areas like the visitors' gallery and press gallery have been taken over by the authorities to make seating arrangements for the MLAs while maintaining a safe gap between them.

An advisory sent to the media says only those with Covid-19 negative test results will be allowed to enter the Assembly premises, but they will report from outside the Assembly through LED TVs.



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