The Tamil Nadu Higher Education Department on Friday issued a notice declaring four additional holidays for universities and colleges in the state. The letter states that in view of the rural local body elections in 27 districts of the state and the impending festivities of Christmas and New Year, additional holidays have been declared for students. Universities and colleges will remain closed from Saturday, December 21, to Thursday, January 2, 2020. Winter holidays in universities and colleges were originally supposed to start on December 24.

This comes following a letter from Mangat Ram Sharma, Principal Secretary to the Governor, to the Director of Technical Education, Director of Collegiate Education and the Registrars of all Universities under the aegis of the Higher Education Department. The letter refers to the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission’s (SEC) notification for rural local body elections that are to be conducted in two phases on December 27 and December 30.

“In view of the rural local body elections 2019, to franchise their votes by the rural students in Tamil Nadu, and also in view of the impending festivities viz. Christmas on 25.12.2019 and the New Year celebration on 01.01.2020, I am to request you to declare 4 additional holidays for the students of the University and Colleges,” the letter reads.

Universities and colleges have been instructed in the same letter to compensate for the four additional holidays – 23, 24, 26 and 31 December, 2019 – by conducting classes on other holidays and on Saturdays.

The polls for rural local bodies across Tamil Nadu, except in nine districts, will be held in two phases – December 27 and 30, 2019. The local body elections announced by the SEC has been postponed in nine districts in Tamil Nadu that have undergone changes – Kallakurichi, Tenkasi, Tirupattur, Ranipet, Chengalpattu, Villupuram, Tirunelveli, Vellore and Kanchipuram based on a Supreme Court order. The Supreme Court order came on a petition filed by the DMK seeking a cancellation of the local body polls in the state, citing non-completion of delimitation in these districts.

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