According to The Hindustan Times report, the Northeast MPs Forum—comprising 39 MPs from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha—representatives are getting more vocal in the demand for a separate time zone for the region.
The issue was raised earlier this month by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi who wants a seperate local time zone for Assam and had announced that the clock would be reset an hour ahead of IST in Assam to save energy and increase productivity.
The East-West spread of India extends for about 28 longitudinal degrees accounting for about 2 hours as a result of which the sun rises two hours earlier in the Northeastern states of the country than its western tip.
“While informal consultations are already on, we will give it a formal form in February when all NE MPs will meet to chart out a future course of action,” said Biren Baishya, general secretary, NE MPs forum.
BJP MP Ramen Deka from Assam told the press, “A separate time zone for the NE region is a must. It will result in much more productive activity.” While CPI (Marxist) MP from Tripura, Khagen Das, said: “There is no question of party politics on this. The demand is thoroughly justified.”
The proposal is yet to be communicated to the Union home ministry which would then forward it to the department of science and technology. On July 25, a team of Assam MLAs had submitted a memorandum to PM Manmohan Singh seeking a separate time zone for the NE region.
A separate time zone has been a long-standing demand of eminent personalities hailing from the region that has been spearheaded by eminent filmmaker Jahnu Barua.
Barua has also worked out a model to calculate the monetary loss incurred in the Northeast because of following the IST. According to his calculations, every year, there is a loss of at least Rs. 94,900 crore in the region because of redundant power consumption.
Interestingly, in 2009-10, the Union home ministry had also proposed a separate time zone for the North east region.