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Amid chaos over MLAs' COVID-19 test reports, Maharashtra assembly monsoon session begins

Former speaker Haribhau Bagade and other legislators, who were not able to enter the Vidhan Bhavan, complained to state Deputy Chief minister Ajit Pawar when he arrived there.

Published: 07th September 2020 12:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2020 12:51 PM   |  A+A-

Maharashtra Assembly in Mumbai.

Maharashtra Assembly in Mumbai. (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

MUMBAI: The two-day monsoon session of the Maharashtra Assembly began on Monday with Deputy Speaker Narhari Zhirwal asking members to observe physical distancing and wear face masks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the physical distancing protocols, Zhirwal asked members not to sit on chairs having a 'cross' sign.

Only one member was seated in the seating area for two.

Members were also seated in the students and visitors gallery to ensure physical distancing among them.

The deputy speaker also asked members to keep their masks on while speaking in the House.

He presided over the House proceedings since Speaker Nana Patole is indisposed as he tested positive for coronavirus last week.

After the session began, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar tabled ordinances related to amendments to GST and contingency fund.

Ordinances pertaining to rural development and urban development departments for postponement of elections to local bodies and mayoral posts due to the pandemic were also tabled along with other bills and papers.

Pawar tabled the supplementary demands for 2020-21.

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The debate on these demands will be taken up on Tuesday before their passage.

Zhirwal also announced the panel of presiding officers for two days - Balaji Kinikar (Shiv Sena), Daulat Daroda (NCP), Sangram Thopte (Congress) and Kalidas Kolambkar (BJP).

The state government has put in place a slew of measures to ensure members do not contract COVID-19 and House proceedings go on without any hindrance.

Compulsory antigen tests for legislators, distribution of COVID-19 kits and new seating arrangements to ensure physical distancing among members are some of the measures undertaken for the two-day session, Vidhan Bhavan officials earlier said.

The shortest-ever monsoon session in the history of the Maharashtra legislature is taking place in the backdrop of a raging COVID-19 pandemic which has already infected more than nine lakh people in the state.

There will be no question hour, calling attention and debates during the session, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab said last week.

This is also the first monsoon session of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government which assumed office in November last year.

Chaotic scenes were witnessed in the Maharashtra Vidhan Bhavan premises on Monday before the commencement of the monsoon session of the state legislature as several MLAs were not allowed inside since their coronavirus test reportswere not available.

The two-day monsoon session of the state legislature began amid the shadow of COVID-19.

Former speaker Haribhau Bagade and other legislators, who were not able to enter the Vidhan Bhavan, complained to state Deputy Chief minister Ajit Pawar when he arrived there.

Pawar called legislature secretary Rajendra Bhagwat and asked him to ensure that all legislators whose test reports are negative be allowed inside at the earliest.

He also summoned the local deputy commissioner of police and asked him to clear the crowd gathered at the Vidhan Bhavan's main gate.

"Check the badges of members and their test reports first. Many members have got their tests done privately, allow them in if their reports are negative," Pawar told the legislature staff.

According to Vidhan Bhavan sources, as many as 2,115 samples for coronavirus tests were collected from legislators, ministers, bureaucrats,legislature staff members and journalists over the weekend.

So far, 58 samples have tested positive, the sources said.

Meanwhile, some opposition MLAs staged a protest on the stairs of the Vidhan Bhavan building, demanding scrapping of the regional reservation for medical admissions.

State officials have put in place a slew of measures to ensure members of the legislature do not contract COVID-19 and House proceedings go on without any hindrance.

Compulsory antigen tests for legislators, distribution of COVID-19 kits and a new seating arrangement to ensure physical distancing among members are some of the measures undertaken for the two-day session, Vidhan Bhavan officials earlier said.

The shortest-ever monsoon session in the history of the Maharashtra legislature is taking place in the backdrop of a raging COVID-19 pandemic which has already infected more than nine lakh people in the state.

The brief session will take up supplementary demands and certain bills, among other legislature work.



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