CHENNAI: Following an outcry from political parties and leaders of all hues, including Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Opposition Leader MK Stalin, the Central Government Employees Welfare Coordination Committee (CGEWCC) Chennai, which is responsible for deciding the list of ‘compulsory list of holidays’ for Tamil Nadu, declared on Tuesday that Pongal day would be a closed holiday for Central government employees in the State.
The decision was taken at the executive committee meeting of the committee. Meanwhile, Central government officials in Chennai reiterated that the Centre was not in any way connected with finalising the list of ‘compulsory holidays’, and pointed out that the CGEWCC had not selected Pongal as compulsory holiday during the discussions.
A few hours ahead of the announcement about including Pongal day as compulsory holiday came in, the Chief Minister wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointing out that Pongal had been under ‘additional holidays list’ for the past several years indicating an apparent diminution in the importance.
He said from the list of 12 optional holidays, three are to be selected for the State. Since the list already has an additional holiday for Dussehra, another ‘additional holiday’ for Pongal could be included in the list. “This will ensure that Thiruvalluvar day could also be declared as a holiday by CGEWCC” he said.
The DMK that had announced an agitation on January 11 on this issue, withdrew it.