Thirteen lakh public servants of the country will enjoy an extended vacation during Eid-ul-Azha, though not as long as the last Eid, since the government has declared September 11 a public holiday.
Eid-ul-Azha will be celebrated here on September 13 and the official holiday is of three days if not followed by weekend or other government holidays.
September 11 is the only workday before the Eid vacation begins. The announcement paved the way for a six-day vacation beginning next Friday.
However, the government employees will have to work on September 24, a Saturday, to make up for September 11.
The decision came hours after the weekly cabinet meeting at the secretariat discussed yesterday the prospect of declaring September 11 and 15 holidays to make a straight nine-day vacation for civil servants.
Next Sunday has been declared holiday through an executive order, according to the public administration ministry.
During the last Eid-ul-Fitr, the government allowed the public servants to enjoy a nine-day vacation, declaring April 4 a holiday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued the order with her executive power.
The premier this time approved one additional holiday, said sources in the cabinet.
Talking to The Daily Star, some government officials said they were happy with the decision, but they would have been happier had September 15 been declared a holiday as well.
"We would have a nine-day holiday this time as well, as September 15 is the only workday before the weekend," said an official of the labour ministry, wishing not to be named.
Another official of the education ministry said things would have been more pleasant and convenient for him had the government made the decision soon after the sighting of the moon.
"I have bought tickets for September 11 as my office was supposed to remain open that day. It is not possible to change tickets at this last stage. I will miss two days of vacation," he said, requesting for anonymity.
APP FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
At the outset of the cabinet meeting, PM Hasina formally inaugurated an "instant messaging app" named "Alapon" for communication between government officials.
The app is like Viber and no fee would be charged for using it, Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam said while briefing reporters after the meeting. It is reliable and secure, he said.
"The initiative [to build the app] was taken as part of the aim to develop Bangladesh as a technology-based modern digital country," Alam said.
The new app is already available in the iOS and Google Play Store. All government officials can download it using their national ID number and the mobile number they provided to the government, he said, adding that government officials can talk, hold group discussions and conferences, both audio and video, send messages and exchange files using the app.