The administration of the Indian state of Assam has just decided to break away from India Standard Time (IST). If the central government of India does not stop the move, clocks there will be set forward one hour permanently. It is not yet known when the switch will occur.
Back to “bagaan time”
The time zone change comes 150 years after the British colonialists introduced “chaibagaan time” or “bagaan time”, a time schedule observed by tea planters, which too was one hour ahead of IST. Assam, along with the rest of India, has been following IST for the past 66 years.
“IST has affected our productivity besides forcing us to follow a schedule not suited to the time zone we are in”, the Hindustan Times quotes Assam chief minister, Tarun Gogoi. “We have now decided to set our clocks to bagaan time.”
While IST is calculated on the basis of solar time in Allahabad in the northern-central state of Uttar Pradesh, Assam lies in the extreme east of the country and borders Bangladesh and Buthan. This means that the sun sets as early as 16:31 (4:31 p.m.) IST in November and December.
Time in India
Clocks in India are 5:30 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), making the country one of the few territories with a half-hour UTC offset. If the time zone change is implemented, Assam will be 6:30 hours ahead of UTC. India does not observe daylight saving time (DST).
Ramifications for other states
Assam is surrounded by and shares its unique geographic location in the far eastern corner of India with the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. It is not yet known if these states will follow Assam's time zone switch.