COVID-19 Test Mandatory to attend Odisha Assembly Session

Prior to the commencement of the upcoming Winter Session of the Odisha Legislative Assembly, all the MLAs, ministers, journalists, security persons, staff members and other senior officials will have to undergo the COVID-19 test. Only those who test negative will be allowed to attend the winter session of the state assembly. Assembly Speaker Surya Narayan Patra chaired a meeting where this decision was approved, post which RT-PCR tests of the legislators, staff members and other officers have begun at three special counters.

“The House will start by 20th of this month and will end on December 31, 2020. We have made it mandatory for all the MLAs, ministers and every person coming to attend this Assembly session to undergo the COVID-19 test. The house will be properly sanitised. All the MLAs will sit at a distance of four feet,” said the assembly speaker.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) with a medical team will obtain the swab samples of all the MLAs, staff members and other officials for the RT-PCR tests. During the last assembly session, more than 15 legislators had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and were not permitted to attend the assembly.

“During the pandemic, Odisha has already demonstrated its ability to conduct the legislative business with all the restrictions imposed by the authorities. If we do not conduct this session, we will be failing to fulfil the obligation under the Constitution. Therefore, with all the restrictions imposed in the last Assembly session, we are going through the process, and we will be able to conduct the session safely,” stated BJD MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik.

At the union level, the pandemic is likely to hinder the Winter Session of Parliament. The centre is yet to decide on the commencement of the session that customarily begins in the second half of November. It is being anticipated that the centre may decide to skip the Winter Session and directly go for the Budget Session in January.

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