Hyderabad, Sep 16 (IANS) The COVID-19 pandemic forced an early end to the Telangana Assembly session as both the Houses were adjourned sine die on Wednesday, 12 days before the scheduled time.
Both the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council were originally scheduled to have the session till September 28 but a sudden spurt in COVID cases among the staff on duty is believed to have forced the presiding officers to cut short the session.
Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy and Council Chairman G. Sukhender Reddy adjourned the Houses sine die after completing the day’s agenda.
The decision was taken after a member of Assembly and over 50 others including policemen and legislature staff on duty reportedly tested positive.
While adjourning the Council sine die, the chairman said the mood of the house at large was that there is a possibility of spread of the pandemic. Sukhender Reddy said as 1,200 people including legislators, police, media and others were attending the session there is general apprehension about the spread of COVID.
Srinivas Reddy had on Tuesday held a meeting with leaders of various political parties and discussed the issue after it was brought to his notice that some members of legislature staff, police personnel and journalists tested positive. He reportedly conveyed the decision to cut short the session due to fears of virus spreading among legislators and Assembly staff on duty.
Member of Legislative Assembly Jaffar Hussain Meraj of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) had tested positive on Monday, when the session resumed after weekend break.
The speaker had directed all legislators, legislature staff, policemen, media persons covering the session to undergo COVID test again before the session resumes.
All of them had undergone the test before the session began on September 7. Finance Minister T. Harish Rao had tested positive a day before the start of the session.
Unprecedented arrangements were made for conduct of the session amid the pandemic. Negative test report was made mandatory for all the legislators and those on duty at the Assembly premises.
Wearing of masks was also made compulsory while special seating arrangements were made to ensure social distancing.
The Assembly and Council passed 11 Bills and amendments to various Acts during the session which lasted for eight days. On the first day, both the Houses were adjourned after paying tributes to former President Pranab Mukherjee and TRS MLA Ramanlinga Reddy, who passed away recently.
The Bills passed during the session include Bills for new Revenue Act and TS bPASS Bill. The House passed a resolution seeking Bharat Ratna for former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and another resolution urging the Centre to withdraw the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020.