"One More Thing PM Didn't Think About," Shashi Tharoor Hits Out

Coronavirus Updates: Sixty-eight people have died, over 2,900 have contracted infection across the country as the country observes a total lockdown to control the spread.

'One More Thing PM Didn't Think About,' Shashi Tharoor Hits Out

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has attacked PM Modi at least thrice since yesterday. (File)

Highlights

  • Shashi Tharoor hits out at PM for third time since his Friday's address
  • PM appealed to switch off lights for 9 minutes at 9 pm on Sunday
  • Ministry of Power has dismissed concerns about "instability in voltage"
New Delhi:

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor this morning launched an attack on Prime Minster Narendra Modi for the third time since he urged citizens across India on Friday to "turn off lights for nine minutes at 9 pm on Sunday" in a nationwide show of solidarity, "to fight the darkness of coronavirus".

In a tweet, the 64-year-old Congress MP today shared a notification by the Uttar Pradesh State Load Dispatch Centre (UP SLDC), one of the units of state's power board, which made a mention of possible "staggered load shedding" between 8 pm and 9 pm on Sunday to ensure smooth functioning of electricity grid.

"An unprecedented drop in electricity demand at 9pm Sunday &an immediate surge at 9.09 pm could cause the electrical grid to crash. So Electricity Boards are contemplating load shedding from 8 pm & staggered return to normal after 9.09pm. One more thing the PM didn't think about! (sic)," the Thiruvananthapuram MP wrote.

In the letter shared by Mr Tharoor, the UP SLDC has also given instructions to the state utilities to prepare for load reduction, which may occur if all lights are turned off at the same time across the state on Sunday. "30,000 MW sharp load reduction may occur in the state in a very little duration of time," it reads. "All reactors in UP Power Grid must be kept in service during the period," it says, adding that "all capacitor banks must be kept out of service".

On Friday morning, PM Modi delivered his third address to the nation on COVID-19 pandemic and made a fresh appeal to people across the country. "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," PM Modi said in a video message.

"We must all together, challenge the darkness spread by the coronavirus crisis, introducing it to the power of light. No one is alone during the lockdown, the collective superpower of 130 crore Indians is with every citizen," he added.

In a statement today, Union Power Ministry said: "PM has appealed to voluntarily switch off lights between 9:00 p.m to 9:09 pm on April 5. Some apprehensions have been expressed that this may cause instability in grid and voltage fluctuation which may harm electrical appliances.These apprehensions are misplaced."

PM Modi's latest appeal, which comes about two weeks after he requested people to observe 14-hour self-quarantine or "Janata Curfew" ahead of the lockdown, was criticised by several opposition leaders.

Mr Tharoor was among the first ones to react. "Listened to the Pradhan Showman. Nothing about how to ease people's pain, their burdens, their financial anxieties. No vision of the future or sharing the issues he is weighing in deciding about the post-lockdown. Just a feel-good moment curated by India's Photo-Op PrimeMinister!"

In another post, the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala wrote: "This is no accident: the PM spoke on Ram Navami at 9 am for 9 minutes, asked us to light diyas & candles on 5/4 at 9 pm for 9 minutes. He is invoking all the auspicious elements Hinduism associates with number 9. Back to Ram Bharose?! (trusting Lord Ram)."

Mr Tharoor is among the many Congress leaders who have crticised centre's handling of coronavirus pandemic.

Sixty-eight people have died, over 2,900 have contracted infection across the country as the country observes a total lockdown to control the spread. 

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