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Assam MLA Angoorlata Deka Requests For Space to Feed Babies in Assembly

Guwahati, September 10: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Assam legislative assembly Angoorlata Deka requested the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs a room for lactating members where they can feed the babies during assembly sessions. Deka who is nursing her one-month old child said she has to continuously move between her quarter and the Assembly. She said since this has resulted in her missing out on important debates and discussions during the Monsoon session, a special room is an option.

Citing the example of Australian Senator Larissa Waters who breast-fed her baby in the Parliament. Deka said she is not asking for a similar law, but at least a room for the mothers to nurse the babies. While speaking to The Sunday Express, she cited the Tanzanian parliament facility, where a special room is designated to lactating members.

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Reports claimed that since the beginning of the Monsoon session on September 4, she has been moving between the Assembly and her living quarter within the House complex. ““Every hour or so, I have to leave the Assembly and rush home to feed Namami (her child). In the process, I miss a lot of debates and discussions,” she told The Sunday Express.

She mentioned that although women in workplaces are entitled to six months of maternity leave, that is not applicable to women MPs and MLAs.

Finally on September 7, she formally requested Parliament Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary for the room. She also said she would meet the Speaker as well and discuss the viability of the request. She also said that such a provision should be made available in all government and non-government offices as well.

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However, Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami told reporters that Deka has not told him about the demand. He also added that there is little chance that her request will be fulfilled. He also said that her MLA quarter is not far away from the Assembly and hence she can provide care for her baby. He mentioned how children are not allowed inside the Assembly anyway. According to him, most they could do is to give a room in the Assembly guest house which is less than 100m away from the Assembly.

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