Problems with Indian Standard Time: DST or Time Zones options

IST was fixed in 1906 at 82.5°, or 5.30 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). But India is a vast country, spread between 68°E in the west and 98°E in the East. Since there is a difference of one hour for every 15° of longitude, the two extreme points of India differ by two hours. So, when Sun sets at Porbandar at 6.00 PM, the sunset time is 4.00 PM in Kohima. Although it is not felt by most Indians, it really creates troubles for the people who live in North East. This is the reason that there are periodical demands from North East region for a separate time zone so that the clocks there may be advanced by an hour.

On the other hand, some suggest that India should go for a Daylight Saving Time, which can not only help to alleviate the problem of North East but also can save energy substantially. Today, around 70 countries advance their clocks by an hour during summer months to save power, and this is called Daylight Saving Time (DST).

Option-1: Having Separate Time Zones

In North East, the day starts getting brighter by 4 AM and darker by 5PM. The advocates of two separate time zones argue that this would allow people of North East to begin early and use the time which is currently wasted. But this has practical problems because it may lead to chaos at the border of the two time zones. Since, there will be a need to reset the clocks every time one crosses one zone, it can create confusion. Particularly, it may result in dangerous Railway accidents as Railway signals are not fully automated and many routes have single tracks. Human errors during to time differences may lead to such accidents.

Option-2: Going with Daylight Saving Time

By implementing DST, more effective use of daylight by advancing the clock by one hour during six summer months would easily result in power savings of 5-7 per cent, or perhaps more. This can be cheapest and easiest ways for harnessing solar energy. It will help economically and help to curb power demand from thermal power plants which causes pollution and degradation of environment. But this also has some practical problems. India is a tropical country and duration of light and darkness over the seasons does not vary widely.  So benefits of introducing are marginal while its maintenance does not come without costs or inconvenience. In this case also, there may be disastrous rail accidents.

Option-3: Other proposal

There is one more alternate as to advance the Indian Standard Time itself by either one hour or at least half an hour. This can solve the problem of the north east and also help us to get maximum energy saving during evening hours.

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