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(Researched and prepared by noted social worker and filmmaker Jahnu Barua. Mr. Barua was conferred Padma Shri by President of India in 2003. Mr Barua has researched the matter for over 20 years before coming to these conclusions.)
India is a large country in size… north to south as well as east to west. The time difference between its eastern-most border and western-most border is 2 hours. Thus, being on the east, the Northeast which comprises Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura gets daylight much before the rest of the country. For example, if sun rises in Kohima at 4 am, that day it would rise in Mumbai around 6 am i.e. almost 2 hours later. But since India is a single time zone country the normal activity schedules like meal timings, working hours, sleeping hours, etc., throughout the country more or less remain the same. As a result each of these activities gets delayed in Northeast compared to those in country's western states almost by 2 hours as far as the availability and usability of daylight and dark hours are concerned. These constantly delayed habits over the years have resulted into many unthinkable losses for the Northeast in all spheres.
B. The IST and its impact
India has been a single time zone country ever since its independence. And accordingly for functioning, India has set its standard time (Indian Standard Time) based on its mean longitude i.e. 82.5 E which is 5 hours ahead of GMT. (Fig.1). When a country functions on one single standard time based on its mean longitude, the people who live in the west (of the mean longitude) are always in an advantageous position so far the utilization of daylight is concerned… compared to the people who live in the east simply because the people in the west get to start their day either on time or even earlier depending where in the west the area is situated. And in the process, they get to utilize more daylight for productivity compared to the people living in the east. This is one major reason why in any time zone people living in the west of their time meridian are more productive, progressive and prosperous than the people who live in the east (of that time zone).
This example can be seen in Fig.1. All the productive, progressive and prosperous states of India like Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are on the west of IST longitude whereas all the less productive, less progressive and less prosperous states like the Northeastern states, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand are situated in the east. So are the cities. The productive cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram are situated in the west of IST longitude and less productive cities like Kolkata (relatively), Patna, Ranchi, Bhubneswar, Guwahati, Imphal, Kohima, Shillong, Agartala, Itanagar and Aizawl are situated in the east.
And having situated in the far east the entire Northeast which wastes 2 to 3 hours of daylight every day having to function on IST, ends up being the least productive, least progressive and least prosperous.
C. Importance of setting a standard time that is 'right for progress and prosperity' Many countries are conscious of this fact that if you are on the west of your standard time meridian you progress better, and accordingly they have set their time zones in such a way that the whole country remains on the west of their time meridian. Singapore is an example. As we all know, in the Indian sub-continent productivity-wise one of the most progressive countries is Singapore… Singapore's mean longitude is 105 E, but Singapore has set its standard time at longitude 120 E for years keeping the whole country permanently advanced by 1 hour.
China, too, follows longitude 120 E as their standard time keeping almost the whole country on the west of their time meridian.
In comparison, India has kept half the country (longitude wise) on the east of its standard time longitude resulting in colossal waste of daylight. Moreover, India never observes DST (Daylight Saving Time).
Many countries around the world observe DST by advancing their time by an hour or so during longer days period of the year mainly for two reasons… (1) To have maximum utilization of daylight for productivity and (2) To be economic in Power Management by saving Power.
Our closest neighbour Bangladesh has been observing DST since 19th June 2009. In the process, they have advanced their time by 1 hour by setting their standard time (BDT) on 105 E (although their mean
longitude is 90 E) making it 7 hours ahead of GMT and 1 hours ahead of IST (Fig.3). It means when a Northeasterner reaches his office at 10 am IST, his counterpart in Bangladesh has already completed 1 hours of office work although Bangladesh receives daylight almost hour later than in the Northeast.
D. Understanding the plight…
There was a saying in Ahom kingdom : A king, who wants to eradicate poverty from his kingdom, must try to live and experience first the life of his poorest subject at least for a day to know and feel what the poor of his kingdom has been going through.
For us so far such central issues are concerned, obviously Delhi as the political capital and Mumbai as the financial capital of the country are the kings. So it is important to make them feel what the Northeasterners are going through.
If Delhi or Mumbai tries to follow the current Daylight Utilization Schedule of the Northeast, their daily schedule as per IST would be as follows:
Breakfast : 10 am to 11 am
Office hours : 12 noon to 7pm
Lunch : 3 pm to 4 pm
Dinner : 12 mid night to 1 am
Sleeping hours : 1 am to 9 am
Now the question is: “Is Delhi or Mumbai prepared to follow this schedule?”
Perhaps NOT… But the Northeast has been following this schedule for the last 62 years.
E. The losses Having been functioning on the existing IST, the Northeast has suffered colossal losses in the last 62 years of independence. It has created (i) Unproductive tendencies, (ii) More alienation, (iii) Imbalance in Biological Clock, (iv) Degeneration of Society, (v) Wastage of Electricity, (vi)Loss in productivity and so on…
It has created Unproductive Tendencies
By being subjected to a permanent delay by almost 2 hours in their day to day activities for years, the people of Northeast have lost their sense of priority. As a result there is tremendous neglect towards productivity.
In our survey, we have found, more than 50% office goers in the Northeast reach office late by an hour or more and after work more than 35% leave office early by an hour or more.
Moreover, due to the extra availability of daylight before office hours, office goers either wake up late or engage themselves in personal or domestic works extensively before he gets ready for his office and by the time he reaches his office he is already a tired man with no freshness to apply on productivity.
More than 70% Government office goers in the Northeast wake up minimum two hours after sunrise. It has created more alienation
As it is the people of Northeast have a feeling that their region has always been neglected. Earlier they were not aware about Daylight Saving Time (DST). But since recent years people are quite aware about it. Recently when Bangladesh advanced their time by 1 hour making it one-and-a-half-hour ahead of IST, the people of Northeast are shocked to realize that when an office goer in the Northeast reaches his office at 10 am IST, his counterpart in Bangladesh has already completed 1 hours of office works although Bangladesh is behind Northeast in getting daylight.
This is resulting into a new feeling of alienation amongst the people of Northeast. The conscious commoner feels that the Government of India has deliberately never looked into this time matter all these years as it does not want the Northeast to prosper.
It has created Imbalance in Biological Clock Having to follow the IST, the people of Northeast are subjected to do all their day to day activities at wrong time.
Wake up minimum two hours after sunrise, breakfast after minimum 4 hours of daylight, start of office hours only at middle of the day, lunch at 3 to 4 hours after midday, dinner after 5 to 6 hours of darkness and finally go to bed much after mid night.
Does this go with our biological clock! Definitely NOT… It's totally an imbalance in our biological clock resulting into whole lot of excessive health and psychological problems in the region. Scientists have alarmed us on this from time to time in many ways. And just imagine… this has been going on for the last 62 years.
It has caused Degeneration of Society
One might wonder what has IST to do with degeneration of Society… It needs to be explained…
Late afternoons and Evening hours are the most vital periods for physical and mental stimulation. That's why people choose these particular hours for various physical sports and other social activities. This applies greatly to homes as well. A family outing, family get-together, family interaction – all these activities are very vital so far the much needed stimulation in the family is concerned… and a family always needs these moments to be available to them.
In Mumbai or Delhi people have this period available to them. They get at least 2 to 3 hours of daylight after office hours before it becomes dark, whereas a Northeasterner hardly gets a late afternoon or an evening to spend with his family. By the time he reaches home from work it's already dark. In fact two-thirds of the year office hours in the Northeast spill over to the dark hours. Over the years, this has resulted into many family problems, including, whole lot of non-communication between parents and children… The process of transfer of values from generation to generation is thoroughly disturbed. And this obviously adds to the degeneration of Society.
More importantly, a Northeasterner gets additional 2 to 3 hours of darkness before he sits for his dinner.
This 'available extra hours' has resulted into various anti-social engagements amongst the people, particularly the unemployed youths. One of the major such engagements has been alcoholism in the region. Alcoholism has flourished in the Northeast in such rapid pace in recent decades after the prohibition regulations were relaxed that density-wise consumption of alcohol in the Northeast is now highest in the country.
This extra available hours not being daylight has also minimized physical activity in the region and this is one reason why our sports talents have not been able to flourish to their potentiality.
It has caused Wastage of Electricity
At a time when power is such a crisis, one definitely does not like to waste power. Governed by IST, the Northeasterners go to bed late at least by two hours and in the process they end up using two hours of extra electricity every day in their HOMES by keeping their lights on.
On the other hand, as working hours spill over to the dark hours during almost more than two-thirds of the year, Northeast, in the process, ends up using at least average one hour of extra electricity in its OFFICES – Government and Non-government, Business Houses, Industries, Factories, Shops, etc., every day. Below are some figures on this as surveyed by us.
Extra Electricity used per HOME per day for two hours: 6 units
This HOME includes hotels, restaurants, etc.
For 1 year : 6 x 365
For 20,00,000 Homes : 6 x 365 x 20,00,000
For 40 years : 6 x 365 x 20,00,000 x 40
Rs.2.50 per unit (Average) : 6 x 365 x 20,00,000 x 40 x 2.5
= Rs. 43800,00,00,000
Total wastage in HOMES = Rs. 43,800 Crores
Average Extra Electricity used per OFFICE – Government and Non-government, Business House, Industry, Factory, Shop etc per day for 1 hour: 12 units
For 1 year : 20 x 365
For 5,00,000 Offices/Shops etc : 20 x 365 x 5,00,000
For 40 years : 20 x 365 x 5,00,000 x 40
Rs. 3.50 per unit (Average) : 20 x 365 x 5,00,000 x 40 x 3.50
= Rs. 511,000,000,000
Total wastage in OFFICES etc = Rs. 51,100 Crores
Total Wastage = Rs. 94,900 Crores (Homes and Offices)
People of Northeast have lost this money that could have been saved. And just imagine how much India would have saved in power since independence if the whole country would have rightly created time zones and observed DST (Daylight Saving Time).
It has caused Loss in Productivity…
As mentioned above Northeast has lost a minimum of average 2 to 3 hours of productivity every day by following the IST. Below are some figures showing the colossal productivity loss in 62 years since independence!
Loss per day : 2 hr 30 mins=150 minutes
In 62 years : 150 x 30 x 12 x 62 minutes = 3348000 minutes = 55800 hours
Considering that one needs to give a minimum of 6 hours of productive input per day, Northeast has lost in terms of productivity:
558006 = 9,300 days = 25 years 10 months
Hence by following IST, Northeast has gone behind by 25 years 10 months in productivity since independence.
If it continues like this Northeast would be behind by 54 years in productivity in 100 years. It's not that the Northeast has suffered alone. In fact, being on the east of IST longitude, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Sikkim have also relatively suffered. … So, what is the remedy?
F. A remedy with right approach
The only remedy to repair the damage is:
MAKE INDIA A TWO TIME ZONE COUNTRY...
... one for the Northeast and the other for the Mainland. Nay, considering the existing productivity competition around the world, we need to permanently advance our times by setting them based on longitudes belonging to the east, and not on a mean longitude.
In our analysis, we very strongly feel that the Northeast Time should be based at longitude 105 E which is 7 hours ahead of GMT and the Mainland Time at longitude 900 E which is 6 hours ahead of GMT.
It will bring in tremendous changes to the entire country towards improvement in all spheres. Quality of people will improve and misuse of time and wastage of daylight will be minimal. People will be more productive, social and value-based through proper use of time. Anti-social elements, too, will decrease.
Can't we do it? Yes, we can do it because:
Investment : One decision
Cost : NIL
Benefits : Incredible development in all spheres
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Printed and Published by Dr. Hitesh Deka, Principal, K C Das Commerce College, Chatribari, Guwahati-8, Assam, India