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Tuesday, 21 August, 2001, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
India investigates different time zones
By Ayanjit Sen in Delhi

The Indian Government is to examine whether the country should have two different standard times.

The idea is to make the best use of daylight in eastern India, where the sun rises and sets more than an hour earlier than in the west.

People in the east stay up longer - keeping lights on and using more electricity.

Now a four-member committee under the science and technology department is to consider changes.

V Thulasidas, a member of the committee and chief secretary of the north-eastern state of Tripura - told the BBC that many office workers in the east felt they started work too long after sunrise.

At the moment, Indian Standard Time (IST) is based on local time in the city of Mirzapur in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Office hours queried

Two years ago, a one-day international cricket match between India and New Zealand played in the north-eastern city of Guwahati was started 15 minutes early so that it could be finished before the shadows crept in.

But Mr Thulasidas said various options were being considered - including changes in office timings in eastern India.

The committee is scheduled to meet in September and then submit a report to the government.

This is not the first time such a proposal has been mooted.

During the late 1980s, a team of researchers in a leading energy institute in India suggested a system of time zones to save electricity.

There are five standard times in the United States and eight in Russia whereas China has only one.

See also:

25 May 01 | Business
India's power crisis escalates
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