MUMBAI: In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the ongoing budget session of the Maharashtra Legislature has been curtailed by a week and it will conclude on Saturday.
The session, which began on February 24, was earlier scheduled till March 20.
State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab announced in the Assembly the decision of the Legislature's business advisory committee to curtail the budget session.
A proposal to curtail the session was tabled in the House and approved by members.
Parab said the state budget, which was presented on March 6, and the Appropriation Bill will be passed on Saturday.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said, "Health of people is more important and legislators need to go back to their constituencies."
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting on Wednesday with senior state ministers, presiding officers of both the Houses and leaders of opposition in the Assembly and Council to take a decision on curtailing the session.
Pawar on Wednesday made it clear that the session was being curtailed not out of fear of the coronavirus, but to prevent strain on the administration.
Eleven people from Maharashtra have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, former state chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said in the Assembly that 102 Indian students, including two from Mumbai, were stranded at the Rome airport.
He urged the state government to contact the Ministry of External Affairs and the Italian embassy to ensure their return to India.
Chavan also said that 44 tourists from Kolhapur and Sangli in Maharashtra were stranded in Iran.
BJP MLA Atul Bhatkalkar said four people from suburban Mumbai were stranded in Tehran.
He said a special desk should be set up by the state government to enable the stranded citizens from the state to contact the authorities.
Former BJP minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the government should not call meetings of officials from different parts of the state.
To this, Ajit Pawar said efforts will be made to ensure meetings are held through video-conferencing, instead of asking the officials to come to Mumbai.