In view of the COVID-19 situation, the next session of the Legislative Assembly is likely to be held in Kalaivanar Arangam on Wallajah Salai, in Chennai, to ensure better enforcement of physical distancing norms among legislators. The seating arrangement in the present Assembly hall provides little scope for distancing.

The House was adjourned sine die on March 24 and the next session is due next month. The Assembly must meet at least once in six months.

‘Closer to quarters’

Multiple sources confirmed to The Hindu that the multipurpose hall on the third floor of Kalaivanar Arangam was being actively considered for convening the House. “The session will not be held in the Assembly hall for sure. Kalaivanar Arangam is the most likely choice since it is closer to MLAs’ quarters,” a source said.

Another source cited ample parking facilities and the building’s proximity to the Assembly Secretariat, besides its major attraction — a large multi-purpose hall where seats can be arranged in compliance with physical distancing norms.

Officials from the Assembly Secretariat and the Public Works Department visited the Kalaivanar Arangam a few days ago to survey the vicinity, an official said.

A final call

A senior official said the Assembly Speaker would take a final call on the venue.

Since Independence, the Assembly has met only in the present historic hall. For a brief period during the DMK regime, the Assembly met at the present-day Government Multi Super-Specialty Hospital, which was an Assembly-cum-Chief Secretariat complex.

“But before the current venue, Assembly sessions were held in Rajaji Hall,” an official pointed out.

The old Kalaivanar Arangam was demolished and the new one, with multiple auditoriums and a multi-purpose hall, was constructed at the same venue. It was inaugurated by the then Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, in February 2016.

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