COVID-19: Huge response to PM’s appeal, power minister congratulates systems team
GN Bureau | April 6, 2020
As Indians switched off lights in homes and lighted lamps and candles Sunday night following prime minister Narendra Modi’s appeal as a gesture of solidarity in the fight against COVID-19, the power grid held up well despite the sudden drop in demand.
In a short video message on Friday morning, the PM had urged citizens to join in the novel initiative. At 9 pm Sunday, for nine minutes, a huge number of people joined in, standing at the doorstep, in the balcony, in the verandah. Some lighted lamps and candles, some switched on the torch light of the mobile phone.
There was a wave of enthusiasm in participating in a community move, symbolinzing their joint fight against the disease that has locked down the nation for 13 days now. Some also burst crackers, in Diwali mood. They shared pictures of their ‘celebrations’ on social media.
Modi lighted a traditional lamp at the prime minister’s residence. President Ram Nath Kovind and vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu also participated in the initiative with their families. Political, religious, spiritual and civil society leaders too joined in. Most places of worship too had lighted up.
Earlier, fears were expressed that a sudden drop in power demand across the nation might lead to a snag in the power grid, and thus RK Singh, Minister of State (IC) Power and New & Renewable Energy, was on his toes to ensure the system continued to work smoothly.
He later tweeted, “The demand went down from 117300 Megawatts at 2049 hrs to 85300 Megawatts till 2109 hrs; that is a reduction of 32000 Megawatts. Then it started increasing. Frequency was maintained within a band of 49.7 to 50. 26 Hz, which means the voltage was kept stable.”
The national grid operator, POSOCO, and the national, regional and state load despatch centres did a great job with support from all generators; NHPC, NEEPCO, THDC, SJVNL, BBMB, NTPC, all state gencos and IPPs, Transcos and Distribution companies and their officers and staff, he added. “Congratulations to all of you. The national power system works as a team. INDIA stands together with the Prime Minister.”
Meanwhile, by Sunday evening, the number of positive cases in India so far rose by 505 to 3,577, with the number of active cases standing at 3,219. COVID-19 has claimed 83 leave so far, including eight on Sunday.
India has been under a 21-day lockdown since March 24, leaving most people confined to home though essential services are running.
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