Himachal Pradesh Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur tested positive for Covid-19 Thursday, four days ahead of the monsoon session of the assembly.
In a Facebook post, he urged people who came in his contact recently to quarantine themselves and get tested. Singh, 70, who represents Mandi’s Dharampur in the Assembly, said he had got himself tested after observing primary symptoms. The seven-time MLA expressed hope that he would be cured soon.
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Vipin Singh Parmar Thursday chaired an all-party meeting ahead of 12-day monsoon session, which begins September 7 under strict Covid-19 protocol.
Parmar later told the media that he has requested the ruling and the opposition legislators to cooperate so that the session could be conducted in a peaceful and dignified manner.
Among others, Parliamentary Affairs minister Suresh Bhardwaj, leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri, CLM MLA Rakesh Singh and Independent MLA Hoshyar Singh attended the meeting.
Parmar said six-feet-high transparent polycarbonate sheets have been installed in the Assembly at the cost of Rs four lakh to maintain distance among the legislators. Besides, several other steps have been taken to check the spread of novel coronavirus during the Assembly session, he added.
The Speaker said thermal scanners will be available at five entrance gates of the Vidhan Sabha and any person with fever would be sent to the dispensary in the Assembly complex. Stating that no visitor will be allowed in the Vidhan Sabha complex, the Speaker said the ministers and legislators have been asked to bring either a personal assistant or a PSO with them.
The number of officials and the staff for holding the session has also been curtailed from 1,200 to 400 this time, he said.
Parmar said 577 starred and 228 unstarred questions and notices for debates and discussions for the session were received from the legislators which have been sent to the government. The questions asked by the legislators are about coronavirus pandemic, reorganization of panchayats, appointment of SMC teachers, condition of roads and drug menace among other issues, the Speaker said.
Earlier on March 23, the state Assembly was adjourned sine die amid Covid-19 outbreak.
As per norms, the Assembly session has to be convened at least once in six months, Parmar said, adding that the Budget session had been adjourned on March 23, so the next session was to be convened before September 22.
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