By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, September 29, 2020: The eight-day monsoon session of the Odisha Assembly began on Tuesday with many MLAs opting for the digital mode to participate in the proceedings keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in view.

Though the proceeding began in strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik preferred to take part via video conference from his residence, while several BJP legislators, including those above the age of 60, attended the session through virtual platforms from the Lok Seva Bhawan and the district collectors’ offices in their respective constituencies.

Members physically present wore face masks and face shields and were allotted seats in the assembly hall, visitor’s gallery and other sections in order to maintain social distancing.

Only those who have tested negative for COVID-19 joined the proceedings in the assembly building, which has been sanitised for the session.

A total of 19 MLAs tested positive for coronavirus during clinical examination in the assembly premises in the last three days. So far, 51 legislators, including nine ministers, have contracted the virus in Odisha, officials said.

As the House assembled for the day, Patnaik moved obituary references on the passing away of former President Pranab Mukherjee, two sitting MLAs and health professionals engaged in COVID duty.

Speaker S N Patro then adjourned the House till 3 pm as a mark of respect to the sitting members who died recently.

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