New Delhi: Displaying
concern towards the environment, people in India along with those in
131 other countries switched off lights for an hour Saturday to
observe Earth Hour, a global initiative to spread awareness on
climate change. Compliance was however partial due to lack of
awareness and business considerations.
Organised annually on the last Saturday of March by the World Wide
Fund for Nature (WWF), over 4,000 cities - including New Delhi and
Mumbai participated in Earth Hour 2011.
But in both cities as well as other metropolitan cities, numerous
commercial establishments, including malls and markets, could be
seen illuminated brightly.
"I have no idea about the Earth Hour. Moreover, we do brisk business
in the evenings and cannot afford to switch off our lights," said
Suraj Chawla, a shopkeeper in central Delhi's bustling Karol Bagh
The capital saved a total of 296 MW during the Earth Hour, an
official of power supply utility BSES told IANS.
A programme was also organised at the India Gate lawns which
included performances by popular dance troupe Adaa and musical band
Bollywood star Vidya Balan, who is this year's cause ambassador, was
also present at the event.
Delhiites came in droves to witness the event. Colourful balloons
were released in the sky as soon as the lights were switched off and
Euphoria's Palash Sen began singing.
"I left my office early this evening and came to support this cause
with friends and family. We have been switching off our lights at
home every year on this day and have been successful in convincing
many of our relatives as well," said Saurabh Gambhir, a 36-year-old
In tech hub Bangalore, except for major IT firms and a few
commercial establishments, people ignored the Earth Hour with
popular shopping areas brightly lit as usual.
P. Atmaram, who runs a departmental store in Jayanagar shopping
complex in Bangalore, told IANS he had read about the Earth Hour
campaign but "sorry, could not participate as it is weekend today
(Saturday)...I cannot afford to shut my business for one hour from
The situation was no different in Kolkata as lack of awareness among
residents led to lights remaining on as usual.
"Observing Earth Hour is a farce. I do not believe in it. It will be
of no use to put off power for an hour once in a year, it's a whim
of the rich people," said green activist Subhas Dutta.
Several top officers in the state were also unaware of the global
event including the press secretary at the governor's house.
"I have no idea whether Earth Hour was observed in governor's house
or not as I was with Governor M.K. Narayanan to watch a film in
city's state-run cultural complex," Dhruba Banerjee said.
Meanwhile, lights went off on several public buildings, private
complexes and private commercial establishments in parts of Mumbai
and its suburbs during the Earth Hour.
In Chennai too, the cause got a mixed response. A leading hotel,
Courtyard Marriott, switched off the building focus lights and
turned up the thermostat.
"We have switched off lights in our administrative section, as well
as the chandeliers and a third of the lobby lights. The thermostat
have been increased from the usual 23 degrees to 25 degrees in
lobbies, halls and coffee shops," Karen Berry, general manager of
the hotel told IANS.
In may parts of Punjab and Haryana, including union territory
Chandigarh, various NGOs, resident welfare societies and youth
observed Earth Hour from 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.
Hoshiarpur-based tractor manufacturer Sonalika group observed a
complete shut down in their tractor unit for one hour.
"At least 10 houses of in locality are observing complete power shut
down. It is our way to contribute in saving mother earth," Ankit
Sharma, an engineering student in Chandigarh, told IANS.