Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: For the first time, the lawmakers of Odisha unanimously passed the Appropriation Bill outside the august House due to the lockdown amid coronavirus outbreak. It was for the first time that Odisha Assembly proceedings were held outside the Assembly building.

The brief session of Odisha Assembly was held at the Lok Seva Bhawan’s convention hall today as the Assembly building has been closed for fumigation as a precautionary measure after one of the staff came in contact with the State’s third COVID19 patient.

The appropriation bill was passed today empowering the State government to draw and spend Rs 1.55 lakh crore from its consolidated fund during the financial year 2020-21.

Also Read: Johnson & Johnson Plans To Start Human Trial Of COVID-19 Vaccine By Sept

The Bill was introduced by Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari while Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik of the BJP and Congress Legislature Party Leader Narasingha Mishra supported it. The Bill was passed unanimously, said senior BJD lawmaker Amar Prasad Satpathy.

Pujari had presented the annual budget in the Assembly on February 18. However, due to novel coronavirus outbreak and subsequent adjournment of the Assembly from March 16 to March 29, discussions on Demands of Grants of all the departments could not be taken up, he said.

The Finance Minister sought support from all the members in fighting COVID-19. "We have so far been able to contain the spread of the disease by taking timely action," Pujari said, adding the fight against the deadly virus continues and therefore, everyone should support the state government.

"Apart from other developmental activities, the state government requires funds to tackle the COVID-19," Pujari said.

Soon after the bill was passed, the House was adjourned sine die. The Assembly proceedings were held with necessary precautions prescribed to stay protected against coronavirus. All the MLAs entered the Lok Seva Bhawan after undergoing thermal screening and used hand sanitisers and masks.

To maintain social distancing norms, the lawmakers sat inside the convention hall by maintaining one meter distance between themselves.

“If MLAs follow the norms and wear masks and do proper hand washing, it will certainly inspire others,” said BJD MLA Arun Sahoo.

Also Read: Odisha Govt On Toes For Migrant Workers, Zero Tolerance For Lockdown Violators’

Journalists were not allowed inside the convention centre where the House assembled for an hour to pass the Appropriation Bill. The convention centre was sanitised by the employees of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation before the sitting commenced.

(With PTI Inputs)