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Push IST to save energy, say scientists

New Delhi, September 2
A group of scientists have suggested pushing the Indian Standard Time (IST) by half-an-hour making it six hours ahead of GMT citing several benefits, including peak load energy savings to the tune of 16 per cent.

The new suggestion avoids the risks associated with introducing two separate time zones, a proposal that has already been rejected by the government.

“We propose advancing of the IST by 30 minutes to being six hours ahead of the GMT,” senior scientists Dilip Ahuja and D.P. Sen Gupta said in a communication in Current Science.

Such an advance would give an extra 30 minutes of daylight in the evenings when it is most useful for all of us.

They suggest advancing the IST from being the time at 82.5° east on the longitude (Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh) to 90° east on the longitude (Bengal-Assam border).

This move would make the IST six hours ahead of GMT and make it the same as Bangladesh Standard Time.

The scientists said the total saving extrapolated for the year came to approximately 1.82 terra watt hour (TWh) out of the total nationwide consumption of 592 TWh during 2003-04, which might not seem large.

“The percentage savings in the evening peak energy, however, are about 16 per cent, which is substantial,” they said.

The duo calculated the money value of the savings in the range of Rs 1,000 crore every year. “Weighing the potential benefits from this proposal against the possible demerits, the proposal needs to be examined by the government and various stakeholders,” Ahuja and Sen Gupta said.

Besides energy saving, the scientists claim that the shift would bring office timings in the northeast more in line with the rest of the country and help mainstream the region.

The shift would also bring the country in conformity with 95 per cent regions of the world which use integral hours, help reduce traffic fatalities and injuries, reduce street crime, result in stoppage of fewer sporting events due to poor lighting conditions, increase outdoor activity and professional productivity.

The scientists see late winter sunrises, which would inconvenience those who have to send children to school in the fog and the dark, and opposition from the IT and BPO industry as possible disadvantages in implementation of their proposal.

They feel that these possible objections can either be circumvented or traded off with other advantages.

A committee constituted by the Department of Science and Technology deliberated the proposal of separate time zones.

The committee observed that separate time zones did not provide any major advantages and on the other hand posed several difficulties in terms of differential timings for airlines, railways, radio and television among others.

It felt that a more prudent solution would be to advance the work timings by an hour in the eastern states, which can be implemented through administrative instructions. — PTI

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