Why in news?
=>Scientists at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research’s National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL), which maintains Indian Standard Time, have published a research article describing the necessity of two time zones, with the new one an hour ahead of the existing time zone.
=>The demand is based on the huge difference in daylight times between the country’s longitudinal extremes, and the costs associated with following the same time zone. Those arguing against the idea, on the other hand, cite impracticability, particularly the risk of railway accidents, given the need to reset times at every crossing from one time zone into another
=>It identifies where the two time zones be demarcated from each other; at the “chicken neck” that connects the Northeast to the rest of India, an area that is spatially narrow and reduces the possibility of railway accidents.
=>If India follows two time zones, its potential savings in energy consumption will be 20 million kWh a year.
How time is maintained?
=>If lines of longitude are drawn exactly a degree apart, they will divide the Earth into 360 zones. Because the Earth spins 360° in 24 hours, a longitudinal distance of 15° represents a time separation of 1 hour, and 1° represents 4 minutes.
=>Theoretically, the time zone followed by any place should relate to its longitudinal distance from any other place. Political boundaries, however, mean that time zones are often demarcated by bent lines rather than straight lines of longitude. This is “legal time”, as defined by a country’s law.
=>The geographic “zero line” runs through Greenwich, London. It identifies GMT, now known as Universal Coordinated Time (UTC), which is maintained by the Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in France.
=>Indian Standard Time, maintained by CSIR-NPL, is based on a line of longitude that runs through Mirzapur in UP. At 82°33’E, the line is 82.5° east of Greenwich, or 5.5 hours (5 hours 30 minutes) ahead of UCT. While India follows one IST, the United States follows several time zones across its breadth.
The India debate
=>India extends from 68°7’E to 97°25’E, with the spread of 29° representing almost two hours from the geographic perspective.
=>In the Northeast, the sun rises as early as four in the morning and in winter it sets by four in the evening. By the time government offices or educational institutions open, many daylight hours are already lost. In winter this problem gets even more accentuated and the ecological costs are a disaster with much more electricity having to be consumed.
Pic courtesy:Telegraph India
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