Himachal Assembly to have polycarbonate dividers

It will virtually be a divided house this time in Himachal Pradesh!

Amid Covid-19 outbreak, polycarbonate dividers will stand between the members during the 12-day Monsoon Session of the Legislative Assembly beginning September 7.

On the demand of the Opposition Congress, the BJP government is going to hold the session for the first time amid the pandemic by adapting strict heath protocols to check its spread among the 68 lawmakers and their staff. The session will have 10 sittings.

For this, Speaker Vipin Parmar has asked authorities to install polycarbonate separators in compliance with the social distancing norm.

Also, the lawmakers and the ministers have been asked to curtail their staff during the session. And there will be a ban on the visitors to attend the proceedings of the House.

Such preventing steps for holding the session will be the first in the history of this elegant British-era building, earlier known as the Council Chamber that was opened by Lord Reading on August 27, 1925.

The use of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation for killing the virus in the air is also being considered, officials told IANS.

Social distancing norm will also be observed in the seating arrangement in the officials’ gallery and the press gallery, while a limited number of secretariat officials will be allowed during the House proceedings.

“We are adopting all health protocols as framed by the MHA and these will be enforced strictly,” Speaker Parmar told IANS.

He said transparent six-foot tall polycarbonate sheets would be installed in the middle of the twin-sharing seats of the members.

The Speaker said the ministers have been asked to reduce the staff accompanying them during the session. Even there will be the minimum presence of government officials in the Assembly.

The last session of the Assembly was adjourned abruptly on March 23 with the outbreak of the coronavirus.

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