MUMBAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to switch off lights at 9 pm on Sunday to represent country's spirit in fight against COVID-19 can affect "power grid" as well as emergency services, said Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut on Friday.
The Minister urged people to light candles and lamps without switching off lights at their homes."If all lights are switched off at once it might lead to failure of grid. All our emergency services will fail and it might take a week's time to restore power. Would appeal to the public to light candles and lamps without switching off lights," Raut said in a video message.
"Putting off the lights together at the same time can lead to a huge difference in demand and supply. As there is lockdown, the demand has already decreased from 23,000 megawatt to 13,000 megawatt as factory units are not operating," he said.
"Switching off the lights at the time will lead to a blackout that is likely to affect emergency services. It would take us at least 12-16 hours to restore services. Electricity is a major tool during this COVID-19 crisis," he said.
The Opposition has been targetting Centre over "mishandling" the COVID-19 crisis and not taking adequate measures to tackle it.
In a video message on Friday, the Prime Minister asked citizens to turn all lights off in their houses at 9 pm on Sunday (April 5) and to stand at their doors or windows with a candle, diya and torch for nine minutes in a battle against the COVID-19.In his address to the nation on March 24, the Prime Minister had announced a 21-day lockdown in the country to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, which has infected over 2,000 people in the country.