Pema Khandu, Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, on 12 June 2017 reiterated demand for a separate time zone for the north-eastern states.
The demand is made to improve work efficiency and save electricity in the north-eastern region of the country.
Khandu stated that several daylight hours are getting wasted as government offices opens only at 10 AM and closes as early as 4 PM.
Why the demand?
• In North East India, the day starts getting brighter by 4 AM and darker by 5 PM. Productive hours at offices, mainly government offices, are usually for only 7 hours.
• Establishments like theatres, restaurants see increased business in the summer months when there is more daylight. People tend to stay out more rather than calling it a night.
• Khandu demanded that the north-eastern states should be allowed to advance their clocks by some time (approximately 0.5-1 hour) to save more daylight hours.
• For those living in north-eastern states, a change in time would mean a delayed sunset. This will allow the citizens to make use of added daylight hours, which is currently wasted.
• Daylight saving will thus give a fillip to the economic activity in the city as well.
What is time zone?
• A time zone is a region of the globe that observes a uniform standard time for legal, commercial, and social purposes.
• Time zones tend to follow the boundaries of countries and their subdivisions because it is convenient for areas in close commercial or other communication to keep the same time.
• Earth is divided into 360 vertical lines known as longitudes and a shift in every longitude gives a time difference of four minutes. Every 15 degree longitudinal shift results in a time difference of one hour.
• However, in the event of a single time zone, like in India, with the country spread over areas wider than the one hour mark, some areas see early sunrise and early sunset and the opposite extreme ends see them late.
• The longitudinal difference between India’s easternmost point Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh and the westernmost point Gugariyana, Gujarat is almost 30 degrees, which means a time difference of two hours.
The Gauhati High Court recently dismissed a Public Interest Litigation seeking a separate time zone for the northeast region.
Also, a study carried out by Bengaluru-based National Institute of Advanced Studies had concluded that a separate time zone for the north-eastern region of India could help in saving 2.7 billion units of electricity every year.
A Planning Commission report, published in the year 2006, also called for different time zones in India to improve efficiency.
A similar demand was also made by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in the year 2014. He suggested that the north-eastern region should follow Chai Bagan Time, which is practiced in tea gardens and is one hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time (IST).
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