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Primary schools closed for 3 days

delhi Updated: Jan 29, 2008 16:05 IST

IANS
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Thousands of tiny tots in Delhi, facing a tough time leaving for schools amid chill in the morning, will have some respite as the government-run primary schools will remain closed for three days from Wednesday.

"It is too cold and we have asked government primary schools to announce holiday for three days," Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said on the sideline of a function in New Delhi on Tuesday.

She said the private schools have also been "advised to do so".

The minimum temperature in the national capital on Tuesday climbed to 5.2 degrees bringing some respite to millions after a cold wave for over a week. But weather officials said the mercury would drop again substantially in the coming days.

"The sudden fluctuation in weather is not uncommon. Tuesday is much warmer than the last few days but the temperature will drop substantially in a day or two," said an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

On Tuesday, Delhi recorded a minimum of 5.2 degrees Celsius (three degrees below normal), as against 2.3 degrees on Monday. Tuesday was the coldest Jan 29 for Delhi in five years. In 2007, the minimum temperature was 12 degrees on January 29.

"The minimum temperature is likely to go down below two degrees soon," the official told IANS.

Residents in the capital said the cold was quite unbearable.

"I have not seen such long spells of a cold wave in the last few years. It's really becoming difficult to get up early in the morning," said Sailabhanu Panda, a mass communication student.

For many, the weather was even affecting their work.

"People are staying indoors in the morning and evening hours. I think there is a 40 percent decline in my income over the last two weeks," said Rajesh Kumar Singh, a rickshaw puller in south Delhi.

However, the IMD official said the cold wave condition might not last more than a week.

Asked about BBC's prediction that Delhi will experience 0 degrees Celsius on Friday, the official said: "We don't want to comment on the BBC forecast but our forecast does not say so."