Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly. (File Photo: IANS. Image Source: IANS News

Lucknow, Aug 7 : The four-day Uttar Pradesh Assembly session, scheduled to begin from August 20, will be a new experience as it will be held in accordance with COVID-19 pandemic protocols, with special arrangements in place to ensure social distancing.

Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit said: "The Uttar Pradesh Assembly will set example on how to conduct a session in challenging conditions to legislate on important matters. I am confident that members will set a precedent before the nation by ensuring that the house can address serious public concerns and challenges in the four-day session.

"We hope not to have any disruptions during the brief session." Uttar Pradesh will be the first state to have a full-fledged regular session in the pandemic.

The monsoon session has been convened to meet the constitutional obligation of holding one within six months of the last which was held in February.

Principal Secretary of legislative Assembly, Pradeep Kumar Dubey said: "Special filters will be used in central air-conditioning system to prevent transmission of virus. The central canteen would remain shut to prevent crowding. Besides more gates would be opened so that members get enough space for entry and exit." To ensure social distancing, legislators would be seated in the various galleries.

There is also a proposal to cancel all media passes in order to allow legislators to be seated in the press galleries.

Meanwhile, sources said that during an all-party meeting on Thursday, leaders also deliberated on the possibility of approaching the President, if needed to review the constitutional provision of calling a session within six months of last one in the 'rarest of rare' circumstances, and if the time could be extended to eight months or beyond.

Nine state ministers have already tested COVID-19 positive and a number of staff members in the Vidhan Sabha are also infected.

Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary was recently been discharged from hospital after recovering.

But the opposition wants the Assembly session to be held in the normal mode.

"We should seek permission from President and delay the session by a month or so. There are issues like the Vikas Dubey encounter, corona management and the flood situation which need to be discussed. By keeping he media away, the government wants to hide its failures," said an SP MLA.

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