Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has reopened the debate on the long-standing demand for a separate time zone in the North East. The demand, first raised by the North-Eastern states in the mid-nineties, is based on the logic that owing to early sunset in the North-East, lights have to be turned on in offices in the evening, leading to excessive consumption of power.
This can be avoided by advancing the clock by one or one-and-half hours so that those offices can close earlier.
“We get up as early as 4 am. Several daylight hours are wasted as government offices open only at 10am and close at 4 pm,” Hindustan Times quoted Khandu as saying.
Khandu’s support for the demand comes days after the Gauhati High Court rejected a public interest litigation soliciting for a separate time zone for the northeast.
Earlier, former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi had also brought up the issue of separate time zone suggesting that chai bagan (tea garden) time, which is one hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time, be followed in the area.
When the British ruled India, they had divided the country into Bombay time zone, Calcutta time zone and bagan time zone.
India currently follows a time that is 5-1/2 hours ahead of the international standard, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The proposed new time zone would put the North-Eastern states six-hours ahead of GMT, at par with Bangladesh.