---- Editorial ----
Hydro issue back to haunt state
The hydropower issue is back to haunt government of Arunachal. Save Mon Region Forum
(SMRF) which is spearheading the fight against mega dam construction in Tawang district
has issued seven-days ultimatum to the Chief Minister urging him to issue orders
for immediate roll back of NHPC Stage-I and II Hydro Power Project from Tawang. SMRF
has been leading people's movement against hydropower project in Tawang district
for last many years. The organization has even threatened to start democratic movement
if govt fails to meet their demands.
There is every possibility that this may lead to next round of confrontation between
state government and locales who are opposing the mega dam project. In May 2016,
two protestors were killed at Tawang when local staged protest against arrest of
anti-dam activist Lobsang Gyatso. The victim family is yet to get justice. No action
has been initiated against the officials involved in the killing of two protestors.
This time the government should be careful and tactfully handle the situation. The
anti dam sentiment is getting strong in neighbouring Assam too. In the wake of recent
flood, several Assam-based organisations have blamed Ranganadi Dam in Arunachal for
causing flood in the state. Government of Arunachal will need to really work hard
to convince the people about positive side of hydropower project.
---- Readers Forum ----
The sun rises in the east
India stretches from 68°7' East in Gujarat to 97°25’ East in Arunachal Pradesh and
measures about 3000 km from its east end to its west end. The time difference between
these extreme points is approximately 2 hours leading to differences in time of sunrise
By following the IST, a common man in North east India has to wait for two extra
hours to send a letter from the local post office as these government offices are
accessible only after 10 AM. By the time government offices or educational institutions
open, many daylight hours are already lost in this region thus giving West India
the upper edge.
The same logic can be applied in case of sunset. As the twilight hits NE earlier
compared to the western side, it leads to lesser duration of working hours during
daytime and more consumption of energy due to the plentiful use of artificial lights.
This problem gets even more noticeable during winters as the sun sets approximately
around 4 PM in many parts of NE.
The ventilation of the idea of a separate time zone for NE India started around 2
decades back, when the government established a small committee in 2001 under the
Ministry of Science and Technology to examine the strengths and weaknesses of multiple
time zones in India. Kapil Sibal, who was the then head of the ministry, disregarded
this issue and asked to stick with the IST. Most recently, Chief Minister of Arunachal
Pradesh, Pema Khandu, has also advocated the idea of a separate time zone for NE.
In 2006, the Planning Commission (now NITI Ayog) recommended the introduction of
another time zone for more efficiency. Former Chief Minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi,
argued about the unproductivity and inefficiency of Assam due to less daylight in
the region and dynamically demanded for the enactment of the bagaan time zone into
its state official time. But all these efforts went in vain owing to indifference
of the Union government.
However, scientists and researchers from the National Institute of Advanced Studies
have m insisted on advancing IST by half an hour. They justified their stand with
data-centric Research Paper published in 2012 which reported an increase to 17-18%
saving of daily energy consumption that is saving India more than 2.17 billion kWh
of electricity every year. A petition was signed on change.org regarding the same
but it only ended as a futile attempt.
The British Raj adopted 3 different time zones; a Bombay time zone, a Calcutta time
zone and a tea garden time or the baagaantime which was followed by the tea plantation
workers in India. This chai baagaan time was one hour ahead of the IST which helped
the workers do their work according to the sunlight. Present day workers still follow
this routine for better productivity and efficiency.
If the USA having an end to end area of approximately 4300 km can have 4 different
time zones, why cannot India have at least 3 different time zones?
The Guwahati High Court recently dismissed a petition which sought a direction from
the central government to approve a separate time zone for North East. The High Court
said that two time zones can cause unimaginable chaos, considering the country’s
demographic size. India is a country where trains change tracks by manual switching.
Different time zones could cause major confusion in communications between train
operators and lead to accidents. However, these limitations are not sempiternal and
can easily be taken care of.
But why won’t India introduce a new time zone? Apart from the above official challenges,
there are powerful psychological reasons behind this reluctance. In official phraseology,
NE is still regarded as a troubled region. Every state in the region has suffered
from violent insurgency and brutal counterinsurgency since independence. Some insurgent
groups, seeking full secession from India, are still active. Beijing, which already
claims Arunachal Pradesh as its own, is repeatedly prodded by ultra-nationalists
in China to annexe the entire region.
In such circumstances, the grant of a different time zone for the area, as the academic
Lawrence Liang has observed, is viewed by New Delhi as the first temporal step towards
conceding spatial autonomy. Indian nationalists naturally saw the place differently.
Their decision to enforce IST made sense in the immediate aftermath of partition
and independence when India’s future as a united entity was uncertain. Today however,
to deny 45 million Indians in the North East more daylight saving time is to place
the insecurities of India’s founders above the urgent needs of India’s citizens.
As anyone vaguely familiar with the North East knows, the principal cause of unrest
in the region is its economic backwardness. A new time zone will go a long way towards
addressing this problem. It will save daylight, boost productivity and conserve electricity.
A prosperous north-east is less likely to yield to the temptations of separatism.
People can engage in other activities with the extra daylight which can have a positive
impact on their health and psychology in the long run. Regular activities like cycling
and walking would provide a better platform for improved health. Also, morning sunshine
affects circadian rhythms indirectly aiding the sleep patterns. As India is largely
an agricultural nation, more daylight can lead to better productivity. Even children
will get more time to engage in outdoor co-curricular activities.
The time distance between the North East and the mainland of the country is also
responsible for the difference in development index between the north east and the
rest of the country. All the highly developed cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangaluru,
Ahmedabad etc are located west of the IST thus enjoying more daylight. This might
be one of the reasons for lesser industrial developments in NE region otherwise known
for its rich and vast natural resource base. With the diminishing problem of connectivity
and insurgency, lesser daylight hours is one of the reasons for MNCs and industries
to avoid setting of offices in NE. The basic deterrent of the industrialist to invest
in this region is the lack of power supply and huge expenses to run factory after
sunset. This basic demand can be fulfilled by diverting the already saved energy
for the industrial needs. So with the creation of different time zones, we not only
welcome the idea of saving precious time but also help us address the problem of
underdevelopment and health security in NE.
The advantages are many; from the increase in productivity to the increase in efficiency
and decrease in energy consumption. But it can somewhat provide NE recognition in
mainland India and also around the national media. As we all know this region was
neglected ever since independence in various fields. This small yet meaningful approach
can provide recognition and the autonomy that the people of NE craved for since independence.
Further linked with the increase in infrastructural projects in this region and NE
being the pioneer in India’s Act East Policy, the formulation of another time zone
in this region can prove to be pivotal in binding the people of NE together with
the rest of the nation and hence enhancing the unity of our nation. Apart from the
socio-economic benefits, this time zone can also prove to be politically beneficial.
As Darwin once said, “a man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered
the value of time”, we will similarly fail to understand the value and the importance
of having more than one time zone if we do not take a chance by investing in it.
Kirori Mal College,
Delayed exam result
I am an aspiring candidate who attended the written examination for the post of Junior
Engineer (SSA), Zilla Mission, Lower Subansiri.
The written exam was conducted on 19th February 2017. It has been nearly five months
since the conduct of the written examination. But the result is mysteriously being
delayed without any reason.
On enquiry about the matter, the DC cum DPO and DDSE are found to be lacking in coordination,
leading to delay in announcement of the result. The candidates are being victimized
here. Every aspirant had attended the examination after tremendous amount of time
and energy. And it is our right to know the status of our hard work.
And in this regard, I request the concern department to stop playing with the sentiments
of the aspiring candidates and the unemployed youths in particular.
This trend should not be encouraged. And I hope, this grievance is heard and initiative
is taken immediately.
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