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Leaders concerned about rising Covid cases among MPs, but happy with safety measures in House

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 14, 2020 Published on September 14, 2020

MPs pay tribute to ex-President Pranab Mukherjee, legendary Indian classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj and others who passed away this year, during the opening day of Parliament's Monsoon Session   -  PTI

Political parties and senior politicians are concerned that more than 30 MPs and about 50 Parliament officials were tested positive for Covid 19 over the last two days, according to reports. But they have appreciated the efforts taken by the Secretariat of both the Houses in ensuring safety of members and officials.

Senior Trinamool Congress leader and senior Parliamentarian well versed in rules and procedures Saugata Roy said there is no alternative before the Government now than holding the session at the moment.

Precautions lauded

“Constitution makes it clear that the House shall meet at least once in six months. It does not permit holding a virtual session. We are concerned about the situation, but we have no other way than convening the session,” he said. He said the safety arrangements are unprecedented. “We all have taken Covid tests. Regular sanitisation of the chamber is being done. Whoever has contracted Covid has got it not from the House. Some of our MPs have decided not to attend to avoid crowded places. The government could have held a shorter session,” Roy said.

Senior BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab agreed with this assessment. He said the Secretariat has done everything that can be done in these circumstances. “The safety arrangements are proper,” he said.

RSP leader and a prominent voice in the Opposition NK Premachandran also praised the efforts by Speaker Om Birla and the Lok Sabha secretariat.

“We have been provided with equipment developed by DRDO that minimises contact with surfaces such as doors and lift buttons. We got shields, masks and sanitisers. There is enough distance between two seats, that too with cover on the left and at the front. They have taken maximum possible safety measures,” Premachandran said.

‘More time needed for Bills’

He is, however, unhappy with the hastiness with which Bills got passed on Monday. “Since the safety is assured, the Centre should have given adequate time to discuss Bills. Bills that impact the lives of farmers require more time. We will demand the Speaker that they should not be rushed through in the name of Covid 19,” he said.

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Published on September 14, 2020
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