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Lights in Delhi, Kolkata blink off for India's seventh Earth Hour
Saturday March 28, 2015 11:50 PM, IANS

Prominent buildings in the national capital and the eastern metropolis including the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Victoria Memorial on Saturday switched off their lights as they joined many cities across the globe to mark the Earth Hour.

In addition, several markets, residential colonies and hotels too participated in the seventh edition for India of the global movement against climate change as they switched off the lights between 8.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m.

The Earth Hour was a reminder to the common man to take time out from busy schedules for the cause of electricity conservation, says Bollywood actor and youth icon Arjun Kapoor, the brand ambassador for the annual activity since two years.

"It's (an effort towards) connecting with the common man out there who might not have the time to think about all of this... if you just make him (the common man) think, I am sure it will make a difference in a bigger way," Arjun, who was in New Delhi to mark the occasion, told IANS in an interview.

A Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said that all non-essential lights in the president's house and the estate would be switched off for an hour on Saturday at 8.30 p.m, while lamps at the iconic Akshardham Temple on the banks of the Yamuna in east Delhi too blinked off for an hour.

In Kolkata, the city's iconic Victoria Memorial and the Indian Museum too joined the cause to save power.

"Apart from these two buildings, the air force station at Barrackpore in West Bengal and all National Cadet Corps establishments also participated in the initiative, World Wildlife Federation (WWF) education officer Samya Basu told IANS.

Some hotels in the national capital too joined in.

The Suryaa hotel in south Delhi as well as the Leela hotel switched off their lights. The lobbies and restaurants at Suryaa were lit up by candles while a lantern making competition for all guests and staff was held as well.

WWF-India organised a Green Fair and a concert at Central Park in Delhi's Connaught Place where Arjun Kapoor was also present.

"Earth Hour was initiated by WWF to fight the acute threat that climate change poses. The campaign is truly a vehicle of change and has grown to garner the support of millions across the globe," he said.

The fair saw an all-day music event and also featured renewable energy products, organic food along with various "eco-friendly" items.

Switching off lights between 8.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. on the last Saturday of March, the Earth Hour is a global people's movement inspiring individuals from more than 7,000 cities across the globe and 150 in India, making it the largest voluntary movement ever witnessed in history, the WWF said.

"The campaign's messaging and open-source model encourages participation in a symbolic switch off and leads people to adopt sustainable practices in order to conserve the finite resources of our planet," said WWF-India secretary general and CEO Ravi Singh.

Taking forward the theme of renewable energy, WWF-India also launched the "SahasraJyoti" or "Beacon for the Sundarbans" initiative which aims at bringing sustainable development to the Sundarbans landscape in India, by enabling energy access to 1000 households in the region - all through solar energy.

Earth Hour was first observed in Sydney in 2007, in order to send a strong message calling for action on climate change and environmental conservation. India joined in 2009.

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