Eight persons tested positive for COVID-19 during examination conducted on MLAs, Assembly staff and media persons Tuesday, ahead of the one-day monsoon session of the West Bengal House on September 9. A total of 467 persons were tested at a temporary testing centre since 10 am.
"A total of eight people tested positive; out of them,two are assembly staffs. Four police personnel who were on duty inside the premises, one media person and a driver examined also tested positive. Necessary steps as per norms have been taken," Speaker Biman Banerjee said. He had said last week that the session would be held in strict compliance with ICMR guidelines, and every individual will have to undertake the COVID-19 test before entering the House.
The tests would continue on Wednesday also. According to sources in the Assembly, MLAs, staff members and journalists, planning to attend the proceedings, formed separate queues on the premises of the assembly, and underwent rapid antigen tests, while maintaining social distancing norms.
The West Bengal house monsoon session will be held for only a day on September 9 due to the ongoing pandemic, instead of two-day as proposed earlier. The TMC said the decision to curtail the sitting for a day only was taken at the all-party meeting Tuesday.
"We don't want people to stay in the assembly for a longtime. So it has been decided that the house will be adjourned after obituary reference and placing of few reports," Banerjee said. The decision, however, riled opposition Congress.
Leader of the Opposition, Abdul Mannan criticised the TMC government for not accepting proposals for bringing in resolution against the "anti-people" policies of the Centre. "We wanted to bring in a resolution against the National Education Policy and rise in the prices of essentials. But our proposal was turned down by the TMC. This only proves that TMC and BJP have a tacit understanding," he alleged.
There have been instances when resolutions have been passed without any discussions. But the state government was adamant on not bringing any resolution, Mannan said. TMC denied the charge and said the resolution was not allowed as the session will be held for just a day.
The state government had sent a proposal to the speaker in August for convening a session either from the first or the second week of September in consideration of the rules that there cannot be a gap of more than six months between two sessions of the assembly. The 294-member state assembly was adjourned sine die on March 17 as the state budget session was curtailed due to coronavirus pandemic.