New Delhi: The government on Wednesday (July 19) said it was “pro-actively” considering the matter of the country having two separate time zones.
The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha by Biju Janata Dal (BJD) member B. Mahtab, who highlighted that there was a gap of nearly two hours in the sunrise timings between the eastern and the western parts of the country.
He said the sunrise and sunset timings in the northeast region and archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep were different from those of the mainland.
“The sun rises at 4 am in Arunachal Pradesh, while the offices open at 10 am. The Ministry of Science and Technology had also carried out a study on this in the past,” said Mahtab.
He claimed that some 2.7 billion units of electricity could be saved if the time zone was advanced by half-an-hour and added that only the Centre could take a call on changing the office timings.
“As of now, the country’s standard time is defined by 82.5E longitude that passes through Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and if it was to be advanced by half-an-hour, the defining longitude would be 90E near the Assam-West Bengal border,” said Mahtab.
Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu had advocated a separate time zone for the northeastern states, he added.
In a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Y. S. Chowdary, Minister of State for Science and Technology, said the Centre had not received any such request from the Arunachal Pradesh government.
Amidst the demand for two separate time zones, Chowdary said Russia had 11 time zones, the US nine, while China and India had only one time zone each.
Mahtab exhorted the Centre to put the outcome of the said study report in the public domain and implement it at the earliest.
In 2003, the Ministry of Science and Technology had prepared a report on the amount of energy the country would save if two separate time zones were introduced.
A senior scientist with the ministry, on the condition of anonymity, said the report stated that there would be no significant saving of energy if the country followed two separate time zones.
Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said the government had taken Mahtab’s suggestion “very seriously”.
“He has raised a very important and sensitive matter. The government is pro-actively considering the issue,” he said.
As the Lok Sabha was earlier adjourned after the opposition alleged that the government was ignoring the well-being of farmers, apeaker Sumitra Mahajan expressed happiness over the matter being discussed and said, “Some constructive work is happening in the House.”