Separate time zone for Northeast States, Mizoram, Arunachal and Nagaland

There is a serious demand from powerful section of the society in north-east to have separate time zone for that part of the country. This was more visible recently when a group of academics, journalists, film personalities and people from diverse fields met in Guwahati to build up public opinion for a separate time zone for the Northeast- with suggestions for advancing the clock by at least 90 minutes.


The group of social thinkers is also planning to broaden the campaign for advancing the clock by roping in legislators from the region. Well-known filmmaker Jahnu Baruah, who decided to lead this crusade for a separate time zone in the country, was recently in Delhi, said, "We would submit a formal proposal to the central minister of the Development of Northeastern Region (DoNER) for a separate time zone for the Northeast."


Those who demanding for separate time zone for northeast says that the day breaks early in the Northeast with the sun normally rising at least 90 minutes to two hours ahead of other Indian cities.


For example, on July 9, the sunrise time in Arunachal Pradesh was 4.28 am and in Mumbai it was 6.05 am, while the sunset time was 6.13 pm and 7.20 pm respectively.


In most of hill states like Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, the people's lifestyle and eating habits are tied to early sunset and sunrise. For instance, in Mizoram, most office-goers return home before sunset and have their night meal by 6 pm IST which, needless to say, is technically over 7 pm in comparison to rest of the country.


Though, officially it is not approved, but administrative unit of Indian army in the Northeast begin their work schedule at 7.30 am IST and finish by 1.30 IST. The officers admit that this was due to early sunrise in the region. It also helps them in taking out time for outdoor games and other activities in the evening.


The experts are of the view that proper study may also reveal the complications of this different time zone and its impact on biological clock of human beings living in the region.


The Oil and Natural Gas Commission and several tea garden owners begin operations at 6.30 am. A manager with a tea garden in the Western Assam's Kokrajhar district, says, "People here get up at 5 am and are off to bed by 9 pm. If work starts at 9 am and ends at 5 pm, it affects their efficiency."


It may be recalled that Tata Energy Research Institute (Teri), way back in 1988 suggested, the division of the country into two time zones, thus staggering the peak hours of energy demand, in contrast to the current system, where energy requirements peak at the same time all over the country. 


Vivek Shukla