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NE time zone unfeasible
Published on 28 Apr. 2010 12:07 AM IST
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India’s legal timekeeper Tuesday rejected the idea of a separate time zone for the northeast, saying it was not feasible to advance the clock as it could inconvenience the illiterate people. It, however, recommended the Daylight Saving Time scheme for the country.
‘I cannot support two time zones in a vast country like India where a large percentage of people is still illiterate and there could be many problems in the bordering states,’ said P. Banerjee, senior scientist with National Physical Laboratory.
Banerjee was speaking here on the possibility of a separate time zone for the northeast at a seminar organised by the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council, an Assam government department.
‘There are other logistical problems like keeping pace with national railway and airlines timing schedules as well in the event of two time zones in the country,’ Banerjee said.
The National Physical Laboratory is India’s legal timekeeping institution.
The seminar was organised against the backdrop of a massive public opinion exercise by civil society leaders in recent months to drum up support for a separate time zone for the northeast by advancing the clock by at least 90 minutes.
The opinion makers had earlier justified seeking a separate time zone, on the ground that the day breaks early in the northeast with the sun normally rising at least an hour to 90 minutes ahead of other places in India.
‘Instead of a separate time zone, one could contemplate advancing the office timings convenient to the states and I would recommend a Daylight Saving Time (DST) scheme for the country,’ Banerjee said.
Daylight Saving Time is practised in many countries, exploiting daylight by advancing clocks so that evenings have more natural light and mornings have less.
‘We are disappointed by the decision and still feel we need to exploit the daylight time,’ Jahnu Baruah, a noted filmmaker and one of the main campaigner for a separate time zone for the northeast, said after the seminar.
The recommendations at the seminar for advancing office timings to save daylight time would be forwarded to the Assam and the central government for consideration.

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