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Strict Covid protocols in place as Hry Assembly session begins today

Chandigarh: The monsoon session of the Haryana Assembly is set to begin here on Wednesday with the authorities putting strict protocols in place in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Besides the MLAs and officials requiring a Coronavirus negative certificate to gain entry into the Assembly complex, seating arrangement has also been changed to ensure social distancing in the 90-member House.

Just before the starting of the session, the pandemic has already cast its shadow with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Speaker Gian Chand Gupta and Transport Minister Mool Chand Sharma testing positive for the virus.

BJP MLAs Lakshman Napa, Ram Kumar Kashyap and AseemGoel also tested positive as have six Assembly staffers, officials said.

Khattar is currently admitted to Gurgaon's Medanta Hospital, where his condition is stable, an official said.

During the past two weeks, Haryana has seen a spike in infection cases, which are close to the 55,000-mark with over 600 fatalities. In the Speaker's absence, Deputy Speaker RanbirGangwa will be presiding over the House proceedings.

Deputy Chief Minister DushyantChautala said the duration of the session will be decided by the Business Advisory Committee of the House.

Earlier, the Speaker had made it mandatory for anyone entering the Assembly complex for the monsoon session to show a COVID-19 negative certificate, which should not be older than three days. This was done on Health Minister Anil Vij's suggestion.

The seating arrangements in the House have also been changed to ensure social distancing, officials said.

Only one MLA can sit on a bench as against two earlier. The Speaker's as well as visitors' galleries have been converted into a Sitting place where legislators will be accommodated with social distancing, said officials.

In the officer's gallery, as against the capacity of 36, only 18 people will be allowed to

sit.

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