Parliament proceedings | Lok Sabha expresses concern over spread of COVID-19

As soon as question hour concluded, leader of the Congress legislative party in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Choudhary expressed concern over the handling of the pandemic.

Updated - December 03, 2021 06:45 am IST

Published - March 19, 2020 10:26 pm IST - NEW DELHI

 Congress leader P. Chidambaram with his son Karti Chidambaram at Parliament, during the ongoing Budget Session, in New Delhi on Thursday/ Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Congress leader P. Chidambaram with his son Karti Chidambaram at Parliament, during the ongoing Budget Session, in New Delhi on Thursday/ Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Lok Sabha on Thursday reverberated with concern over the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the large number of Indians, students and others stuck abroad and also the racial profiling of those from the northeast as carriers of the virus.

As soon as question hour concluded, leader of the Congress legislative party in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Choudhary expressed concern over the handling of the virus and the fate of many Indian students and others stuck abroad. Trinamool Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyaya too demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi make a statement in the House on the efforts to combat the pandemic. Mr. Modi will address the nation via television at 8 pm on Thursday.

Also read: Parliament proceedings | Have some suggestions to tackle shutdown amid COVID-19 scare: Gadkari

 

Shiv Sena’s Vinayak Raut referred to the 58 Indian students struck at the Singapore airport and urged the government to bring them home. He said of the 58, 25 are women and they should not remain stranded there. “We have conveyed these concerns to Prime Minister Modi also, as he met us this morning,” said Mr. Raut.

Also read: Coronavirus | PM Modi addresses nation

As matters under rule 377 began, more and more members raised specific issues with regard to the pandemic. Raju Bista, BJP MP from Darjeeling, said his constituency sees a large number of tourists but facilities for screening for the disease are not adequate. He raised the issue of racial profiling of people from the northeast as carriers of the disease. “Lately we are seeing that people from the northeast with different facial features are being singled out and racially profiled as carriers of the virus. I would like the government to give attention to this aspect as well,” he said.

Sumalatha Ambareesh, MP from Mandya, said while the virus was a big challenge, combating rumours circulating on social media was also a challenge. “This is the first pandemic in the age of social media and combating rumours is also important in the fight against the disease. I want to ask the government to set up a dedicated social media account just to bust rumours,” she said.

Also read: Coronavirus live updates | Gujarat reports first cases

 

Margani Bharat Ram of the YSRCP also raised the issue of Indian students stuck in the Philippines and said arrangements should be made to bring them back and put them in quarantine here.

The Congress members in the Rajya Sabha demanded that the Parliament session be deferred.

B.P. Bhattacharya raised concern about the large quantities of official papers that each member receives every day, asking whether these papers are sanitised. “We have requested the Prime Minister to adjourn the House but unfortunately it is not being done.” The House, he said, should be adjourned without any further delay.

Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu said adjournment is no solution and that hand sanitisers have been given to people dealing with papers. Members are free to give suggestions, he said.

At a press conference later, Congress MP Anand Sharma said it is an issue of health and safety of the parliamentarians and other staff members. When all sort of restrictions have been imposed for the common man, then why treat Parliament as an exception, he asked.

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