12 Uttarakhand MLAs test Covid-19 positive; 16 MLAs opt for virtual session
Two ministers in Uttarakhand government, assembly speaker and leader of Opposition are among those to have tested positive with coronavirus.Updated: Sep 23, 2020, 13:11 IST
Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, at least 16 Uttarakhand MLAs have applied for virtual participation in the one-day state assembly session that started on Wednesday in Dehradun.
Speaker Premchand Agarwal had a few days ago urged all the MLAs, especially those above 65 years of age, to attend the session through virtual platforms with the help of national informatics centre (NIC).
“We have got the list of at least 16 MLAs who have applied for virtual participation in the assembly session. It includes those above 65 and below it,” said Pramod Pandey, research officer in the state assembly secretariat.
Four legislators, including two ministers, tested positive for Covid-19 in the RT-PCR tests conducted on the MLAs willing to attend the session physically.
Deputy Speaker Raghunath Singh Chauhan will govern the House in place of Speaker Agarwal who tested Covid-19 positive a few days ago.
“In the RT-PCR test conducted on the 32 MLAs before the session, two ministers Dhan Singh Rawat and Harak Singh Rawat tested positive along with BJP MLA Pushkar Singh Dhami and deputy leader of Opposition Karan Mahara on Tuesday evening,” said Chauhan.
He added that in the light of the given situation, all precautions were being taken to guard against the infection.
“With the four MLAs testing positive on Tuesday, the total number of Covid-19 infected MLAs has now reached 12, including Speaker Agarwal and leader of Opposition Indira Hridayesh. We are taking all necessary precautions including conducting mandatory rapid antigen tests of all MLAs before they enter the House and wearing masks to ensure health safety,” said Chauhan.
The sitting arrangements inside the 71-member assembly have also been changed to ensure social distancing. While 30 MLAs will sit in the main assembly hall, 10 can sit in the gallery. The remaining 30 MLAs can attend the proceedings from hall number 107, where arrangements for virtual participation have been made.