Asserting that it was the union home ministry that had proposed a separate time zone for the Northeast region in 2009-10, former home secretary GK Pillai said all the chief ministers and political leaders of the region should jointly press for it as it involves a political call.
“It was the home ministry which had proposed a separate time zone for the Northeast in 2009-10 to the government after intellectuals like Jahnu Barua voiced the demand,” Pillai told HT, refuting the allegation that the Indian intelligence community was opposed to it.
“We have to change our mindset. The demand for a separate time zone for the Northeast is a valid one and I hope it is granted,” he said. The home ministry had tabled the proposal in 2009-end after which an inter-ministerial committee was set up to look at the issue. “The home ministry proposal was discussed but not recommended. I do not know why although some technical reasons were also cited,” he said. Many countries have multiple time zones. Russia has nine time zones, US and Canada have six while the United Kingdom and its overseas territories use eight time zones.
At present, India’s time is set in accordance with the 82.5 degrees east longitude that determines the Indian Standard Time (IST). Pillai’s comments assume importance in the backdrop of a parliamentary panel’s recommendation last week that the two hours early sunrise in the Northeast be utilised for early operation of aircraft to other regions of the country.