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Fact Check: Did NPCIL Associate Director Talk About Power Grid Failure On April 5?

Fact Check: There is a fake WhatsApp message which claims to be from MK Mathur, NPCIL director, being forwarded about power grid failure on April 5 at 9 pm.

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Amid Coronavirus lockdown, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi addressed the nation on April 3rd, 2020. He had requested the citizens of India to switch off the lights of their homes on April 5th at 9 pm for nine minutes and come out in their balconies, doors or windows with a flashlight, mobile torch, candle, diya in order to show togetherness and unity against Coronavirus. This appeal was made by PM Modi in good faith and to boost the morale of the people in the fight against Coronavirus. However, there are some notorious people who had been spreading rumours about the possibility of grid failure after a huge chunk of the population would turn on their lights at 9:09 PM on April 5th.

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Claim: Associate Director of NPCIL has asked Indian citizens to switch on their fans on April 5th, between 8:55 to 9:10 PM to maintain grid stability

Rating: FAKE

What is the rumour?

A WhatsApp message has been doing the rounds which claim to be an announcement from the associate director of NPCIL. The message states that Mr MK Mathur, associate director of NPCIL, is appealing to people to keep all fans on for fifteen minutes on April 5 from 8:55 to 9:10 pm to maintain grid stability. An example of the message has been given below.

fact check npcil director grid stability message from mk mathur power grid failure

Is it true?

There will be no problem with the grid and electricity, claims the Ministry of Power. While the message claims that people should leave their fans switched on to maintain grid stability, it must be brought to light that PM in his address had asked people to switch off light only. He did not make any call to switch off fans or other appliances. Moreover, Government authorities have been assuring and reassuring the public that the Indian electric grid is robust and stable and the adequate arrangements and protocols are in place for PM Modi's appeal to switch off lights.

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Who started the rumour?

  • Social media forwards

  • People have been circulating these messages all over WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.

After an analysis of the Google Trends with respect to the "MK Mathur associate director of NPCIL", the trends reflect a sharp rise in the term being searched on Google seeing a peak on April 4.

fact check npcil director grid stability message from mk mathur power grid failure

Republic World did a fact check

  • Republic World did a fact check on several messages forwards related to NPCIL announcement of maintaining grid stability and possible grid failure and found them to be False. 

  • No such announcement was made by any official or Government authority. 

  • There is no recorded statement or announcement made by any government official about leaving fans on for 15 minutes on April 5 between 8:55 to 9:10 to maintain grid stability.

  • It must be noted that government authorities always issue notices in public interest through an official statement. They can use various channels like official and verified Twitter, Instagram handles, newspapers, news portals, but they do not address issues concerning the public through WhatsApp messages.

The rumours about possible grid failure have been quashed by the Ministry of Power on their official twitter handle. Minister of Railways of India, Piyush Goyal too, has reassured the people that the Indian electric grid is robust and stable. Check out the tweet below.


Read | Fact Check: Will The 9 PM Event On April 5 Lead To An Electricity Grid Failure?

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