After 66 years of following the Indian Standard Time (IST), Assam has decided to go back in time to follow ‘chaibagaan time’, a daylight schedule British tea planters introduced more than 150 years ago.
The resetting, the government feels, will help save energy and improve lifestyles impacted by the IST-induced late start of daylight work schedule.
Chaibagaan or bagaan time was set one hour ahead of IST for tea estates, collieries and oil industry of Assam. Most tea estates still follow this time, so does the 112-year-old Digboi Refinery in eastern Assam.
“IST has affected our productivity besides forcing us to follow a schedule not suited to the time zone we are in. The northeastern states have been asking New Delhi for a separate time zone. We have now decided to set our clocks to bagaan time,” Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said on Wednesday.
He did not specify if the government had received Central sanction to follow a time one hour ahead of IST.
Established on September 1, 1947, IST corresponds to the time schedule along the 82.5°E longitude near Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh. States located to the west of this longitude have more daylight hours compared to those in the east.
Advocates of dual time zones say bagaan time would help increase productivity, reduce domestic and commercial power consumption and curb alcoholism.
But the Centre's Department of Science and Technology (DST), after examining the feasibility of setting up dual time in 2007, turned down a proposal to advance the clock in the northeast by an hour citing ‘acute administrative challenges’.
DST officials also pointed to the scrapping of two metropolitan local times – Calcutta Time in 1948 and Bombay Time in 1955 – to justify adhering to a single time zone.