COVID-19: Uncertainty looms over monsoon session of Odisha Assembly

Bhubaneswar: Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, the next session of Odisha Assembly is likely to be held in September this year.

The last session of Assembly was held on March 30 this year. As per law, the next session should be held within six months. Accordingly, Assembly should be held by September 30,” said Assembly Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro.

On holding of monsoon session of State Assembly, he said, “It is yet to be decided.”

Talking to media, Patro said, “In this regard, I have consulted with Lok Sabha Speaker and Parliament secretaries over phone. If Parliament session commences during COVID-19, the distance between two members should be at least 12-ft long. However, they are yet to make any preparation to hold parliament session during pandemic situation. The will inform me after they make plan on it.”

He sees no possibility to hold the session in July when the COVID cases are at peak in the State.

“July is the most dangerous month. We have August and September in hand. We will make our procedure to hold Assembly session after consulting with the State Government, Governor as well as Lok Sabha Speaker,” Patro told media.

Earlier, a discussion had taken place in Parliament to hold Assembly session online. But, the proposal received no consent.

“Since the proposal on holding Assembly session online was rejected in Parliament, we could not hold the session online. So for the session, we have to arrange a hall,” he said.

Speaking on holding of various Assembly committee meetings during the pandemic, Patro said that the meeting can be convened by concerned chairman of a panel through video conference in Assembly if required.

“The meetings of around 5-6 committees have been held in Assembly in recent past. However, all the meetings were cancelled till July end after a committee member tested positive for COVID-19. But, order has been given to hold meetings through video conference. As per the order, the chairman of concerned committee can preside over the meeting in Assembly via video conference in the month of July if necessary. The concerned members of the committee can attend the meeting at their concerned block office or district headquarters,” Speaker added.

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