Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu has demand for a separate time zone for the northeastern states to improve work efficiency and save electricity in the region. According to him, several daylight hours are getting wasted as government offices opens only at 10am and closes as early as 4pm.
Recently, the Gauhati High Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a separate time zone for the northeast region.
A study carried out by Bengaluru-based National Institute of Advanced Studies had concluded that separate time zone for the northeastern region could help in saving 2.7 billion units of electricity every year.
A Planning Commission report which was published in 2006 also called for different time zones in India to improve efficiency.
A similar plea was put forward by Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi in 2014. He suggested that northeastern region should follow chai bagan (tea garden) time. Chai bagan time is practiced in tea gardens and is one hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time (IST).
Problems with IST for North East
There are periodical demands from people of North East region to have a separate time zone. IST was fixed in 1906 at 82.5°, or 5.30 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Although it is not felt by most Indians, it really creates troubles for the people who live in North East. In North East, the day starts getting brighter by 4 AM and darker by 5 PM. The adoption of separate time zone would allow people of North East to begin early and use the time which is currently wasted.
The chaibagan time was introduced by the British over 150 years ago. It was set one hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time (IST) for tea estates, collieries and oil industry of Assam.