The ensuing budget session of the Maharashtra Legislature may not take place in Nagpur in the wake of rising Covid cases and high positivity rate apart from constraints in health infrastructure. It may have to be shifted to Mumbai. The budget session is slated to begin from February 28 in Nagpur as two winter sessions could not be held there due to COVID-19 crisis. The Business Advisory Committees of the state assembly and council will soon meet to take a decision in this regard.
The state legislature secretariat has sought the Chief Minister’s appointment for holding meetings of the Business Advisory Committees of the state assembly and council to take a decision on shifting the budget session to Mumbai from Nagpur. A senior officer from the state legislature told the Free Press Journal on Friday, ‘’A team of the legislature secretariat has completed its three-day tour to Nagpur today to take stock of the preparations. Apart from security, there are a couple of logistical issues especially with regard to the seating arrangement to be made keeping the social distance. If the COVID-19 cases are detected during the session, there will be constraints in providing medical assistance considering the limited state of health infrastructure there. The MLA hostel has been used as an isolation center and legislators may be hesitant to stay there during session period.’’
The officer said the state legislature secretariat today dispatched a letter to the Chief Secretary seeking help in case the session will have to be held in Nagpur. ‘’The government will have to intervene in making available additional space for the stay of legislators and also strengthen the medical facilities including conducting RTPCR tests which is mandatory for ministers, legislators and employees of the government and the legislature,’’ he added.
Against this backdrop, the officer said Mumbai is an ideal location considering the adequate availability of space for seating arrangement of legislators and their stay. Besides, there are enough counters for conducting RTPCR tests and also medical facilities. ‘’Ultimately, BACs of state assembly and council will take a final decision on whether to go ahead with the budget session at Nagpur or shift it to Mumbai. If shifted to Mumbai, the session may have a duration of 10 days,’’ another officer said.