EVEN AS the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha is working out ways to keep the 403 MLAs and its employees of the State Assembly safe with a session scheduled to begin on August 20 for the first time amid the coronavirus pandemic, 20 staffers have tested positive and have been quarantined. All 600 employees of the Vidhan Sabha had been tested and the results came on Monday.
With two ministers in the state government having succumbed to Covid-19 and other ministers and MLAs testing positive, the Vidhan Sabha has decided to test each MLA before the Assembly session by organising camps at the Vidhayak Niwas campuses in Lucknow’
It has also been decided to maintain social distancing by using ‘yes’ and ‘no’ lobby as well as the visitors’ gallery for the seating arrangements of the 403 MLAs, who will sit one seat apart. Another challenge during the session would be to ensure that social distancing is maintained while issues are raised by members of the opposition, who usually enter the well of the House with placards.
Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit told The Indian Express, “We are taking all possible precautions for the safety of the members and the employees.” Dixit said arrangements had been made to ensure flow of clean air in the gallery during the session.
He said it has been decided not to issue passes to former MLAs or any other visitors or guests as was done in the past.
“We have also requested MLAs not to bring their assistants inside the Vidhan Sabha, in keeping with Covid-19 protocol,” said Dixit. He added that no canteen facility would be operational during the session to avoid crowding or spread of infection.
On social distancing, Dixit said, “While a business advisory meeting and and all party meeting has been called on August 19, which would be attended by the Chief Minister too, it is my belief that opposition members will not enter the well of the House and will maintain social distancing protocol. Moreover, the opposition has given us an assurance in this regard and I strongly believe that they will respect that.” Last week, the Speaker had convened a meeting of representatives of all parties to discuss preparations for the upcoming session in view of the pandemic.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines