New Delhi: In the wake of concerns that India’s power grid may suffer a failure as a result of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a nationwide ‘blackout’ at 9 PM on Sunday, Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut has urged people to respond to the PM’s call without switching off their lights. Also Read - PM Modi's Appeal Rattles Power Sector, Officials Think 9-Minute Blackout Can Cause Grid Collapse

Notably, in his address to the nation at 9 AM on Friday, PM Modi had urged people to switch off their lights for nine minutes at 9 PM on April 5 and light candles, diyas, flashlights etc. The PM’s call, which has been heavily criticised by the opposition, is nevertheless being seen as an exercise to keep people’s morale high during the ongoing 21-day nationwide lockdown, announced on March 24 in a bid to contain the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic. Also Read - 'Light a Diya of Reason, Not Superstition', Congress' Kapil Sibal Mocks PM Modi's Appeal to Nation

However, it has also triggered concerns that a sudden drop in electricity, prompted by thousands of people shutting of their lights simultaneously, could lead to the collapse of the national power grid.

In this reference, speaking to news agency ANI, Raut said, “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.”

“I would appeal to the public to light candles and lamps without switching off lights,” he added.

Maharashtra is the worst COVID-19 affected state in the country with 490 cases, including 26 deaths.

Nationally, the number of positive cases in the country currently stand at 2,547, including 62 fatalities.