The 12-day Himachal Pradesh Assembly session will begin on Monday under strict COVID-19 protocol. This will be the first session of the state Assembly after the coronavirus-triggered lockdown/curfew was imposed on March 24. The ninth session of the 13th state assembly will be held from September 7 to 18 and it will have 10 sittings. The 68-member assembly session will begin at 2 pm on Monday.
Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur is unlikely to participate in the Assembly session as he tested positive for the coronavirus on September 3. He is being treated at the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC). He has fever and high BP, IGMC Senior Medical Superintendent Janak Raj said.
Earlier, Power Minister Sukhram Chaudhary and Doon MLA Paramjeet Singh had tested positive for the infection. Both recovered from the novel coronavirus a few days ago. Adequate steps have been taken to check the spread of the coronavirus on the Assembly premises during the session, Speaker Vipin Singh Parmar said.
Six-feet-high transparent polycarbonate sheets were installed in the Assembly with a cost of Rs 4 lakh to maintain distance among the legislators. Besides, several other steps have been taken to check the spread of the infection during the Assembly session, he added.
The Speaker said thermal scanners will be available at five entrance gates of the Vidhan Sabha and any person with fever would be sent to the dispensary in the Assembly complex. Stating that no visitor will be allowed in the complex during the session, the Speaker said the ministers and legislators have been asked to bring either a personal assistant or a PSO with them.
The number of officials and the staff for holding the session has also been curtailed from 1,200 to 400 this time, he said. Parmar said 577 starred and 228 unstarred questions and notices for debates and discussions for the session were received from the legislators which have been sent to the government.
The questions asked by the legislators are about the coronavirus pandemic; reorganization of panchayats; appointment of SMC teachers; condition of roads and drug menace among other issues, the Speaker said. He urged all members of the legislative assembly to participate in discussions of public interest in the session while following COVID-19 guidelines.
Earlier on March 23, the state Assembly was adjourned sine die amid the COVID-19 outbreak. As per norms, the Assembly session has to be convened at least once in six months, Parmar said, adding that the Budget session had been adjourned on March 23, so the next session was to be convened before September 22.