An awareness rally taken out by members of the Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry and others in the city on Friday prepared the ground for observance of Earth Hour, a unique initiative to switch off all lights from 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. on Saturday to reduce global warming.

Several government and non-government organisations have announced their support to the initiative. The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation announced that it would switch off all street lights and office lights during the specified one hour. VMC Commissioner G. Ravi Babu said in a statement that the Corporation would ensure that no alternative arrangement was made for this voluntary blackout, though emergency services like hospitals and educational institutions would be exempted. There was a need to positively respond to the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF)'s call to observe Earth Hour every fourth Saturday of March in view of the need to preserve ecology, he said.

The Jana Vignana Vedika (AP) and The Gateway Hotel were among the other organisations that lent their support to the initiative.

Commissioner of Police K.V. Rajendranath Reddy, who flagged off the rally taken out by the Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Rajagopalachari Street urged people to offer their voluntary participation in the drive against global warming.

The Chamber president Muthavarapu Murali Krishna appealed to the trade and commerce sectors to contribute to the cause. Barring emergency lights, all other lights must be switched off during the stipulated period.

Chamber secretary Prasad R.K. Chukkapalli, treasurer K.V.S. Prakash Rao, industrialist Gokaraju Gangaraju and other committee members were present.

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