Strategic reasons do not allow dual time zones in India

Jyoti Singh | | Updated on: Jan 02, 2020


Northeastern states of India Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh,Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura – and Andaman and Nicobar Islands was demandingdifferent time zone as theses face difficulty in managing their routine workschedule. But this long standing demand of dual times zones in India is notpossible because of strategic reasons said Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minster of Science& Technology, Health and Family Welfare and Earth Sciences while replyingto a parliamentary question. 

He has been asked is there any plan ofconsidering a dual time zone in the country in view of the time gap betweenEastern States and Western States. In the reply he said “Council of Scientificand Industrial Research (CSIR) - National Physical Laboratory (NPL) haspublished certain reports in science journals on this issue, referring tosaving of electricity. The matter was examined by a High Level Committee (HLC).This committee comprising Secretary, Department of Science and Technology,Director, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National PhysicalLaboratory (CSIR-NPL) and Chief Secretary, government of Tripura. The HLC afterconsidering the issue recommended not to have two time zones for India forstrategic reasons.”

In Northeastern states the sun rises and setsearlier than the official working hours. This natural phenomenon gives birth tosome practical problems like it affects the productivity and makes electricconsumption much higher. Early sunrise leads to loss of daylight hours by thetime offices or educational institutions open. In winter, this problem getseven more severe as the sun sets much early and therefore, more consumption ofelectricity is required. To deal with this tea gardens of Assam have beenfollowing ‘Chaibagaan time’ which is one hour ahead of India Standard Time(IST).

Recently, a study done by team of researchersfrom CSIR-NPL has been published in the journal Current Science that supported the demand of dual time zones for these states andsaid it is feasible to have dual time zones for them. The study said thattechnically it is feasible to have two time zones and two ISTs in India. Itrecommended that IST-I for most of India and IST- II for theNortheastern region, this would be separated by difference of one hour. Atpresent, the country observes a single time zone based on the longitude passingthrough 82°33′E. 

Interestingly, before independence the countrywas following three major time zones- Bombay, Calcutta and Madras Time.India had no official timezone till 1906 there were three presidencies: Bombay,Calcutta, Madras,and three local times for the three cities, depending on where they fell on thelongitude. The three time zones, thus created, were followed by all the statesor cities around and near it. Calcuttawas set at UTC+05.54, making it +00:24 of the current IST. Madras was set at UTC+05:21 making it -00:09of the current IST. Bombaywas at UTC+04:51, making it -01:19 of the current IST. Bagan Time was at aroundUTC+06:30, making it +1:00 of the current IST.

 (India Science Wire)

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Published on January 01, 2020
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