I was a bit amused by reading the Sunday supplement of the "Assam Tribune", a leading newspaper of Assam and the region as a whole. In one of the articles, the author, enumerates several factors that plague the northeastern region of India thus stunting its growth and advocates, guess what, a separate time zone as an answer to all the vexing problems!
So, I did a quick research and found that the region is about 2,55, 500 sq. km. (approx.) in area, which is about 7 per cent of India's total landmass and with an approximate population of 45 million (4%). Mind you this is spread across the "Seven Sisters"!
Now, with this backdrop of the region, will a separate time zone for the region be feasible? I personally feel this is not the answer to the development of the region. Although the author opines that, by being ahead of the rest of the country by 1 to 1.5 hours, we in the northeastern part of the country lose 'daylight' and as such there is a dip in our productivity due to this geographical phenomena and goes on to give several other reasons that are counter productive.
One that seems rather absurd is the rise in the consumption of alcohol. Come on man, this is rather far fetched! A person hooked to the bottle will take to the bottle immaterial of whether his time zone is changed or remains the same.
But what caught my attention was the mention about Bangladesh enjoying a steady economic growth because of being 30 minutes ahead of us in the northeastern part of India. Well that's good isn't it, but then if that be the case, then why is there unabated influx across the border? Why can't Bangladesh provide employment to its own citizens? Why then should these illegal immigrants continue to cross over to these parts, especially Assam, set up base and procreate like nobodies business and create an imbalance in the demography that's been the bane for so much of turmoil in the state of Assam?
Yes, I do agree the North East of India has a long way to go in terms of economic development and growth, but setting up a separate time zone for the region is certainly not the answer. It is no magic wand! Just by setting the clock back and saying "OK we are now at par with the rest of the country, so lets get our act together and grow". It doesn't happen that way, there is more, much more that each of us in this region needs to do for it to happen. The effort is more "inward" rather than "outward"!
You can read the full write up at A Matter of Time
Take a moment to read up on the above link and let me know of your opinions.