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Demand for separate NE time zone
Published on 24 Jan. 2010 12:10 AM IST
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A group of opinion makers Saturday decided to lobby the central government for a separate time zone for the northeast so that there is optimum utilisation of daylight. More than 200 people comprising academicians, journalists, film personalities, student leaders, scientists, engineers and from other fields met here to drum up public opinion for a separate time zone for the northeast - with suggestions for advancing the clock by at least 90 minutes. “As a first step we would be formally apprising the eight regional governments and also the 24 MPs of the northeast to lobby for a separate time zone in parliament,” well-known filmmaker Jahnu Baruah said. A resolution was also moved to approach the Development of Northeastern Region (DoNER) ministry for a separate time zone for the northeast. Speakers at the meet organised by K.C. Das Commerce College, a premier educational institution in Assam’s main city, said there was enough justification in seeking a separate time zone as day breaks early in the northeast with the sun normally rising at least an hour to 90 minutes ahead of other Indian cities. The NE region gets daylight much before the rest of the country,” Barua, a former ISRO scientist researching the issue for over 20 years, said. “For example on Saturday the sunrise time in Arunachal Pradesh was 6.06 a.m. and in Mumbai it was 7.14 a.m., while the sunset time was 4.15 p.m. and 6.26 p.m. respectively,” Bhabesh Sharma, a geography teacher, said. “Normal activity schedules like meal timings, working and sleeping hours more or less remain the same across the country as it has a single time zone. As a result each of these activities in the N-E get delayed by almost two hours compared to those in the western states,” he said. “We have every reason to demand a separate time zone for the northeast, considering the geo-location of the region,” he added. The group is now planning to broaden the campaign for advancing the clock by roping in lawmakers of the region. “We need to make productive use of daylight from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m., especially in the summer season. We in the northeast do nothing and wait for 10 a.m. to go to office. If our clock is advanced by 90 minutes we can really make productive use of daylight,” Barua said. Neighbouring Bangladesh recently advanced its clock by an hour, aimed at saving an extra hour of daylight to save power. “If we have a separate time zone and the clock is advanced by 90 minutes, Assam would make a profit of Rs.640 million annually by way of energy consumption and production,” said B.M. Sharma, an engineer with the Assam State Electricity Board. “A separate time zone means people would sleep early and hence saving on energy bills and also generation of thermal power would increase as work would begin soon in the projects.” Daylight Saving Time (DST) is practised in many countries, exploiting daylight by advancing clocks so that evenings have more natural light and mornings have less. “In reality Bangladesh is now 90 minutes ahead of Indian Standard Time although the sun rises earlier in the Northeast than in Bangladesh,” Sharma noted.

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