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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: As uncertainty looms large over holding the monsoon session of the Odisha Assembly amid COVID-19 pandemic, Speaker S N Patro on Tuesday said that plans are being made to conduct a session in September and if the situation does not permit, the proceedings might have to be carried out in an alternative venue.

The last session of the State Assembly was held on March 30 and, as per rules, the next one should be conducted within six months.

"We are now contemplating to hold the next session sometime in September. We are consulting different stakeholders like the Odisha government, the governor, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha before taking the final decision," Patro told PTI.

The Speaker said that he was not sure whether the monsoon session, which is usually held in July-August, could be conducted.

"Let the on-going lockdown period end on July 31. We will discuss the issue again," the Speaker said adding that a lot of exercises have to be carried out before convening the session.

He said that plans should be made for at least a week-long session.

Patro said as per the COVID safety guidelines, the distance between the seats of two members should be three meters.

"Therefore, it is not possible to hold the session in the Assembly hall and alternative arrangements have to be made if we decide to conduct the session. The members may be allotted seats in the visitors' gallery if it is held in the Assembly hall," he said.

He said a proposal of holding Assembly sessions online has been rejected.

"We are looking for an alternative venue, such as the convention hall in the Lok Seva Bhavan (the state secretariat)," Patro said.

The last part of the budget session was held on March 30 at the Lok Sabha Bhavan convention hall where 30 per cent of the members participated in passing the Appropriation Bill.

Meanwhile, of the three Odisha MLAs infected by the Coronavirus, two were discharged from hospitals after they recovered from the disease.

(PTI)

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