Sharmili Mallick

Bhubaneswar: All the MLAs, staff and others senior officials will have to undergo COVID-19 test ahead of the upcoming monsoon session of Odisha Legislative Assembly, which is likely to begin by the end of September, informed Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro on Monday.

The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Odisha Assembly Speaker Patro today convened to discuss the strategies to be adopted to ensure the smooth functioning of the house during the pandemic.

As per the decision taken in the meeting, a special counter will be set up on the Assembly premises for the RT-PCR tests of the MLAs, staff and other officers two days before the commencement of the session.

"The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) along with a medical team will collect the swab samples of all the MLAs, employees and other officials two days before the commencement of the Assembly. Those tested negative for coronavirus will be allowed to participate in the Assembly proceedings," said Patro.

Five days after the start of the Assembly proceedings, all the legislators will have to again undergo Antigen test. "After the session is over, the legislators have to remain in home isolation," added the Speaker.

Apart from this, special arrangements will be made for the MLAs who are above 60 years of age.

Earlier, Patro had informed that the next session of the Assembly will begin by the end of September and said that as per protocol, it is mandatory to start a new session within six months of the commencement of the previous session.

The last session of the House was held on March 29 and as per rule, the next session must start by September 30, Patro had earlier stated.

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

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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