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No Covid Curbs In Assembly

Bhubaneswar: With the decline of Covid-19 cases for the past several months, Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted from the Assembly beginning from November 24.

This was decided at an all-party meeting held under the chairmanship of Speaker Bikram Keshari Arukha here for smooth conduct of businesses of the House during the session.

Secretary Odisha Legislative Assembly Dasarathi Satpathy outlined the discussion.

“The restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 period have been lifted. Like earlier, all the members can occupy their respective seats,” he said. However, the MLAs, who are not-well, can attend the assembly through video conferencing (VC) with prior written approval, he said.

Mr.Arukha said that the members of the Press would be allowed to the Press Gallery. Electronic media will be allowed to gather news during ‘Question Hour’ as they used to do before the pandemic, he added.

Apart from the first day, the Assembly will function from 10.30 AM to 1.30 PM and 4 pm to 7 pm. The House will begin at 11 am on the first day, he added.

Leader of Opposition (BJP) Jayanarayan Mishra said his party has opposed the move to allow MLAs to attend the assembly in VC mode.  He alleged that the VC option for MLAs is being allowed to facilitate virtual attendance for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik from his residence.

“Covid cases have declined in the country. Therefore, there is no need for such a provision. All members are expected to remain present in the house during a session,” the BJP legislator said.

As the main Opposition in the House, BJP should only be allowed to submit notice on adjournment motions, Mr.Mishra demanded during the all-party meeting. 

Reacting to the statement of Leader of Opposition, senior Congress MLA Narasingha Mishra said all opposition parties, including those which have only a single member, can move adjournment motion as per Rule of Business of the House. 

The winter session will continue till December 31. As per schedule, the Supplementary Budget for the financial year 2022-23 will be presented before the House on the first day of the session. 

The session will have 33 working days, of which, six days have been marked for private members’ business days. There will be no meetings on five Sundays.