The new timing in Punjab government offices came into effect on Tuesday with Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann saying the move will not just save power but result in many other benefits.
With effect from May 2, the timing of state government departments have been changed from the earlier 9 am-5 pm shift to 7.30 am-2 pm.
The new timing will remain in force till July 15 and result in an estimated saving of Rs 40-42 crore during the two-and-a-half month period, said Mann who, along with his staff, arrived at the Civil Secretariat here at 7.28 am.
“From today, all government offices will open at 7.30 am and continue till 2 pm. The move will have a few benefits,” he said.
Several Punjab ministers, including Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, Harpal Singh Cheema and Aman Arora, also reached their offices according to the new timing.
“Before implementing this decision, we talked to the employees and the people and they agreed (to the decision on the changed timing),” Mann told reporters at a press conference here. He said the move will help save power and added that “power is a big issue”.
When the government offices close at 2 pm and electrical appliances on the premises are shut, it will mean lower consumption by about 350 megawatts per day, resulting in savings of about Rs 16-17 crore per month on power bills. Thus, a total Rs 40-42 crore will be saved during the period (till July 15), he said.
However, at the same time, Mann said the decision was not taken only to save on electricity, adding that there is no shortage of power in the state. In the coming days and weeks, according to the Met office forecast, hot weather is likely to prevail in the region, Mann said.
When offices open at 7.30 am, people can also get their work done early in the morning. They can then attend to their daily routine and other work, he said.
Referring to the change, Mann said these were also set according to school timing so that parents or children don’t face any hassle.
According to the Power department, peak consumption hours are from 1.30 pm to 4 pm and the new timing will help ease the load during those hours, Mann further said.
“One thing that I want to clarify is that we are not imposing any cut on industry or domestic power consumers like we used to see earlier,” he said.
We also have enough power to supply for paddy sowing, the chief minister added.
Mann said of the changed office timing that the employees will come in a fresh mood and this will also improve their work efficiency.
“We made the announcement regarding the change in office timing over three weeks ago so that employees can mentally prepare themselves for the new schedule,” said Mann.
Mann said three to four states have also asked him to share the results and benefits the change might bring so that they can also contemplate implementing such an experiment.
The Punjab chief minister said in big cities such as Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, where traffic is a problem, implementing such moves can ease the situation.
“Maybe some other states will also benefit from our experiment,” he said.
Replying to a question on if the changed timing can be extended beyond July 15, he said the government will see the results of the move and take feedback from stakeholders-employees and the public and then take a call on it.