V. S. Sambandan

Time change will bring island-nation into one time zone

Areas under LTTE control followed an unofficial `Vanni time' Change came into effect on Friday midnight Indian travellers need not adjust watches by 30 minutes

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Friday turned its clock back 30 minutes, effectively synchronising its time with Indian Standard Time (+ 5.30 hours GMT).

The time change, announced last month by the President's office, came into effect on Friday midnight.

The latest change takes the island-nation back to its pre-1996 time when the clocks in India and Sri Lanka ticked together. A decade ago, readjustments were effected as an energy-saving measure in the wake of severe power shortage.

One of the effects of the changed timing is that it will bring the entire island-nation again within one time zone, as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to follow the pre-1996 time for areas under its control in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

When the clock was pushed forward a decade ago, initially by an hour, and subsequently re-adjusted to half-an hour ahead of the IST, the rebels refused to follow suit. Consequently, the island-nation had two time zones the official Sri Lanka time and an unofficial, rebel `Vanni time' for the past decade.