While the demand for a separate time zone for the north-eastern region of India has been existing for years now, a fresh Change.org petition asking the Prime Minister to notify a separate time zone is doing the rounds. The petition started by Angellica Aribam, National General Secretary of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) comes after the recent Guwahati High Court’s dismissal of a PIL with the same demand.
India is a geographically diverse country with the longitudinal expanse of 28 degree wherein a normal time zone is reflected in 15 degree. The sun rises and sets much earlier in the North-East than it does in the rest of country owing to major loss of workable hours.
In the past, the demand was also put forth by a collective of MPs hailing from the region from across political parties. Notably, the government of Assam in 2014 decided to follow the Kaziranga Time Zone in which the clock was set an hour ahead of the current IST.
Aribam’s petition says, “the clocks follow an unrealistic time zone which makes no social or economic sense. A typical day in the North East starts at around 4 am, with the sun setting around 4 pm in the winters. But the government offices and other establishments begin operations only at around 10, resulting in precious loss of 3-4 hours”.
It also talks about energy saving, saying, “A different time zone will not only help maximize daylight working hours, but it will also conserve energy. According to researchers from the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, advancing our clocks by 30 minutes can save about 2.7 billion units of electricity every year”.
The petition has been supported by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor who tweeted saying, “India is too vast a land to have a single time zone”.