Monsoon Session of Odisha Assembly likely in September

Odisha is facing a dilemma over conducting the monsoon session of the State Assembly due to COVID-19. The authorities are considering different options for the sitting of the house as two legislators have already tested Covid-19 positive.

As per constitutional provisions and parliamentary practices, there should not be more than six months gap between two sessions of Assembly, said speaker Surjya Narayan Patro. Hence, the next session should be held in September considering the last one took place on March 30.

The next session will see the introduction of strict social distancing norms. All legislators will be required to maintain a distance of 12 feet while sitting in the house. The speaker informed that the press and visitors gallery will also be utilised as media personnel are unlikely to attend the forthcoming session.

The date of the monsoon session of the Assembly is yet to be decided. The matter has already been discussed with the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Parliament secretaries over the phone, said the speaker.

“If Parliament session commences during Covid-19, the distance between two members will be at least 12 feet as per the protocols. But, they are yet to make any preparation for the Parliament session”, said Patro. The speaker has deferred the meetings of the committees and sub-committees of the Assembly.

The budget session of the Assembly was brought to a halt from March 13 to March 29 because of the pandemic. Later, the house was convened for a day on March 30 to pass the 2020-21 annual budget without discussion.

Some states like Uttar Pradesh have planned to conduct the next session through video conferencing. Meanwhile, Goa assembly has been cut short to one day. Notably, the monsoon session in Odisha began on September 4 last year.