Dehradun, Sep 11 (PTI) The rising curve of COVID-19 is all set to cast its shadow over the forthcoming monsoon session of the Uttarakhand Assembly slated to begin on September 23 with several MLAs testing positive for the virus. Coronavirus cases have seen an unprecedented rise in Uttarakhand of late with more than 1,000 new cases being reported over the last two days in a row. Several MLAs and ministers have also contracted the infection while two legislators of the ruling BJP have demanded imposition of a lockdown in the state to contain the fast spreading pandemic. The latest to be infected is BJP MLA from Khanpur, Pranav Singh Champion, who is under isolation at his Mohini Road residence since Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19, official sources said.
Party MLA from Kaladhungi in Nainital district, Bansidhar Bhagat, who also heads the pradesh BJP was hospitalised after testing positive for COVID-19 on August 30.
Although, he was discharged from the hospital earlier this week, Bhagat has been advised by the doctors to remain quarantined at his home for 10 days. State parliamentary affairs minister Madan Kaushik who represents Haridwar seat in the state assembly is quarantined at home after being discharged from AIIMS, Rishikesh where he was admitted after testing positive for COVID-19 last Sunday.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat too had self-isolated himself as a precautionary measure thrice for brief periods recently after officials at the CMO tested positive for the virus. The chief minister's OSD Urbadutt Bhatt who lost his wife to COVID-19 on Thursday, has himself been under treatment along with his daughter and sister-in-law after testing positive. Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Premchand Aggarwal said a COVID-19 test of the members before entering the assembly will be compulsory. 'The members will have to undergo a corona test two days ahead of the start of the session and certify that they are corona free. Arrangements can be made at the MLA hostel for a Covid test of MLAs if they cannot do it on their own,' Aggarwal said. However, the Speaker advised members above 65 years of age to attend the assembly session virtually for their own safety.
There are 12 MLAs in the state assembly aged above 65 years. 'We have made adequate arrangements for members for their virtual participation in the session. No one is going to have any problems,' the Speaker said. Meanwhile, Rajpur MLA Khajan Das and Badrinath MLA Mahendra Bhatt have demanded that a lockdown be imposed in the state in view of the pace at which positive cases are rising. 'Worried over the surge in coronavirus cases, people are in favour of a lockdown. If a lockdown is imposed in the state for 10 days, the situation can be brought under control,' Khajan Das said. He said he will soon put the matter before the chief minister who can take a final call. PTI ALM RHL