Assembly adjourned abruptly amidst rising COVID-19 fears

 thehindu.com  09/16/2020 17:31:34 

The monsoon session of the State Legislature ended abruptly on Wednesday amidst concerns over the continuing increase in the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) positive cases.

Legislative Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy has announced the adjournment of the House sine die. Council Chairman Gutha Sukhender Reddy followed suit in the Elders House this afternoon after passage of the Bills passed by the Assembly.

The Business Advisory Committee of the Assembly has decided to continue the monsoon session for 18 working days till September 28, but the House was adjourned sine die after the proceedings of the eighth day were completed. The Assembly had passed 12 legislations, including the all-important Bills on revenue reforms during the eight days, and the Council too had passed the Bills without any amendments. The development follows the discussions held by the Assembly Speaker with the floor leaders of the parties since Tuesday after two MLAs, several of the security personnel accompanying the legislators, staff of the Legislature and media personnel covering the proceedings testing positive to the virus.

More than 50 persons were reportedly tested COVID-19 positive during the tests conducted by the Health Department in the Legislature premises. With more than 1,200 people coming to the Legislature premises daily, doubts have been raised by the members over the scope for spreading of the virus, the Speaker said explaining the reasons for ending the proceedings abruptly.

He said it is the responsibility of the Chair to protect the health of the members and the staff.

Hence, a decision to adjourn the proceedings was taken going by the mood of the House. Opposition parties were however of the view that the House was adjourned as the ruling party was in no mood to run the proceedings after the passage of the legislations as well as the resolution against the Central governments decision to amend the Electricity Act 2003.

While debates like the steps taken to combat COVID-19 figured during the proceedings, some key issues like the dispute with the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh over Krishna water were yet to be discussed. Though the Congress had insisted on the discussion on Krishna water on Wednesday, the treasury benches did not give scope for it and instead allowed the MIMs request for short discussion on the Greater Hyderabad related issues.

Discussion on Krishna water could have landed the government in an embarrassing situation and hence, the decision to adjourn the proceedings after the government business was concluded, Congress members felt.

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