New Delhi: Eleven days into a total lockdown to control spread of COVID-19, India will turn off lights for nine minutes at 9 pm today (Apr. 5) after Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Friday morning and gave a call for unity to “fight the darkness of Coronavirus pandemic.”
In a video message, PM Modi made an appeal to the nation: “On April 5, Sunday, at 9 pm, I want 9 minutes from all of you. Turn off all the lights in your homes, stand at your doors or balconies and light candles, diya (lamp) or mobile flashlights for 9 minutes.”
“No one is alone during the lockdown, the collective superpower of 130 crore Indians is with every citizen,” he said.
This was his third address to the nation on Coronavirus that has been spreading fast across the world and has infected over a million people, killed over 50,000. In India, the COVID-19 count has crossed the 3,000-mark on Saturday, with the number of deaths rising to 77.
Only lights should be switched off
On Saturday, as the State Electricity Boards expressed concern that sudden mass power fluctuations — when millions turn off light at the same time — could lead to power surges, Union Power Ministry issued a statement to allay fears.
There is no call to switch off street lights, computers or appliances such as TV sets, fans, refrigerators and air-conditioners in the homes, the Government said. “Only lights should be switched off. The lights in hospitals and all other essential services like public utilities, municipal services, offices, police stations, manufacturing facilities, etc. will remain on…” the statement read.
Several State Power Boards have asked their workers to be on stand-by on Sunday evening with necessary back-up to handle the adverse impact, if any, during or after the voluntary blackout.