Sunday, December 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Spectators go back due to police ‘harassment’ 
National Games come to an end
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
A large number of persons, who had come with great excitement to witness the closing ceremony of the National Games at Guru Nanak Stadium here today evening was disheartened due to stringent frisking by the policemen, who had erected several checking points and blockades on the way. A large number of people, including officials and players, complained about the police move, which caused lot of harassment and forced several of them to return.

Even officials of the organising committee of the games and the players were not spared and handled rudely in the ‘pure Punjab Police manner’. The District Public Relations Officer, Mr P S Kalra was one such victim, when he was pushed around by the security personnel on an entry point to the stadium. The officials could have been spared as in the organisation process they had to and fro the stadium several times.

Even the players of several states were subject to police strictness. A large number of teams, who had entered the stadium at about noon, were not allowed to come outside despite requests to come out to change dress for the closing ceremony. The players and the officials were forced to sit out in the open on an empty stomach. This caused lot of heart-burn among the players and the officials.

Outside the stadium, a large number of people who had come to witness the ceremony, returned due to the over zealous cops. Even the mediapersons covering the games for the past several days were frisked forcibly. The mobile phones of many were not allowed to be taken inside. Some of them even had to deposit their pens.

What was intriguing was that on one side members of the organising committee of the games had forcibly packing the school children like sardines in the stadium with the agreement of the school authorities and on the other side the willing spectators were being harassed and some of them were sent back.

The police security had, in fact, been a major dampener to games as the crowds had not collected on expected lines due to heavy presence of police. Most of the times, there was no danger of any sabotage but the main reason was that some high official was viewing the match. This happened in volleyball events especially.



Octroi posts wear deserted look
Alternative posting orders for staff by tomorrow
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 1
With the issuance of notification for abolition of octroi late last night, the octroi wing of the Municipal Corporation had started winding up process. Around 300 MC employees deployed in the Octroi Department, were shifting the records, furniture and other official articles from the check posts to the main office, while waiting for their new posting orders on Monday.

During a visit to the octroi check posts near Jalandhar bypass this afternoon, Ludhiana Tribune found that the place, usually abuzz with activity with a large number of trucks parked all around waiting clearance, wore a deserted look.

Besides, making a big dent in the income of the civic body, the abolition of octroi had hit hard several small shopkeepers, dhabas, tea shops, workshops and tyre-tube repairwallas, who were doing thriving business in the vicinity of octroi check posts for the simple reason that a stoppage for every vehicle passing through the area, was mandatory and the drivers utilised their services while waiting for clearance.

A middle-aged Iqbal Singh, who runs a dhaba near octroi check post, was in a somber mood. “Till yesterday, this whole place was alive and animated. My dhaba was the favourite joint of truck drivers, some of them even spent nights here to recover from sleeplessness and driving fatigue.” But the government decision to abolish octroi had struck all such small entrepreneurs.

The MC Additional Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, who heads the Octroi Department said that at midnight, the cash was closed and the staff posted at check posts had been asked to prepare final accounts and render the cash and account books to the headquarters. The buildings, being used as octroi check posts at all major entry points, will be kept locked for the time being, after all the record and furniture was shifted to head offices as these may be needed subsequently if some kind of entry tax or other tax was imposed by the government as a part of the alternative resource generation, disclosed the MC officials.

Mr R.L. Kalsia, MC Commissioner, told Ludhiana Tribune that alternative posting orders for the octroi staff were being worked out and would be issued on Monday. He stated that in pursuance of the government decision, the staff posted in Octroi Department would be absorbed in other departments. The MC administration contemplated strengthening its zonal offices with the surplus staff available after disbanding the octroi wing, it was learnt.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal has hailed the government decision on abolition of octroi, terming it as a victory for the trading community. Mr Amrit Lal Jain, president, and Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, general secretary, of the mandal said in a statement here today that abolition of octroi would create an atmosphere, which would result in free flow of goods within and outside the state. Further, it would also eliminate humiliation, brutal excesses and corruption at the hands of the octroi staff.

The Beopar Mandal activists were confident that trade and industry will get a big boost as a result of octroi abolition and the traders in the state will be in a position to favourably compete with their counterparts in neighbouring states. Sounding a note of caution to the government, they added that the high-power committee, set up for alternative resource generation to make up the loss from octroi income, should not touch sales tax lest the goodwill created by the decision would be negated.



Undertrial, cops, politician have a gala time
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
An undertrial with the local Central Jail admitted to the Civil Hospital for the last one week was caught late on Thursday night having liquor allegedly with a Congress politician and three police personnel supposed to be on security duty of the under-trials at the hospital.

Disturbed at the late-night booze party held at the Civil Hospital in violation of the existing rules, the authorities of the local Central Jail have in a communication to the SSP, Ludhiana recommended stern action against the three police personnel involved in the incident. The accused politician was a personnel assistant of a former Chief Minister.

Last night, at about 11 p.m., Assistant Superintendent, Central Jail, Gurvinder Pal Singh, along with some jail police staff raided the Civil Hospital after receiving information that the undertrial Harjinder Pal Singh and the other accused were having drinks at the Civil Hospital, where he was supposed to be under treatment. The official managed to catch the undertrial whereas the others ran away. The medical examination of the undertrial has confirmed that he was in an inebriated condition.

Hospital sources, however, add that an official of the jail staff was also participating in the party and was present during the raid. Mr G.S. Sidhu, Superintendent, Central Jail, however, denied that any jail official was involved.

He said that he got information yesterday late night that such a party was on. He said he immediately dispatched a raiding party. Mr Sidhu said action was being taken against the undertrial and he has written to the SSP, Ludhiana, to lodge a criminal complaint against the three police personnel. It was however, yet to be ascertained how the party was organised between an alleged criminal and police personnel.



Gender bias leads to murder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
One of the most common bickering in any household arising out of gender bias in inheriting property took a bitter turn in Khaddoor village near Jodhan late last evening, when a man allegedly in a fit of rage killed his sister-in-law by hitting a kahi (hoe, an agriculture tool) on her head. The man’s wife was allegedly also a party to the crime as she had grabbed the victim by hair when the man was attacking her.

Darshan Singh and his wife Ranjit Kaur, a young couple, have been booked by the Mullanpur Dakha police for the alleged murder of Manjit Kaur, wife of Chamkaur Singh, elder brother of Darshan Singh. The accused has been arrested while his wife was still absconding.

According to the FIR, Chamkaur Singh and Darshan Singh were two brothers, living separately in the village. Both were married. Chamkaur Singh, the elder brother, had a daughter while the younger one had a son. Even in these days of women liberation, the gender difference in the offsprings of the two brothers, had become a bone of contention between the two families.

The FIR registered on the statement of Chamkaur Singh further states that he and his wife Manjit Kaur were humiliated several times by his brother and his wife for their ‘superiority’ in having a male child. He said he brushed aside such bickering as it was a common phenomenon. However, his wife remained quite disturbed. Later on she and his brother’s wife used to openly fight with each other. Recently, his brother’s wife Ranjit Kaur began saying that their son would be the legal heir to all the property as he was a male.

Yesterday evening, his wife had a heated exchange with his brother and sister-in-law over the matter. The argument again centered around the issue of male and female child. He said the argument took a bitter turn when his wife was attacked by the couple. “While his sister-in-law grabbed the hair of his wife, his brother attacked her with a kahi that led to her death” he states in the FIR.

DSP Mullanpur Dakha Paramjit Singh Goraya said the police reached the site immediately and arrested the man who was trying to flee. The man had already sent his wife away. The DSP said raids were being conducted to arrest the woman.



Girl raped, accused absconding
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
A 13-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped and raped for several hours in Partap Singh Wala village near Haibowal late last night. The girl was allegedly raped in a dairy room located in a crowded area but no one could come to her aid as her shrieks died down in the loud noise emanating from a jagrata and a marriage party near the room.

According to the police, the girl was finally rescued by one of her uncles, late in the night, when due to power failure, the speakers went off and the cries of the victim were heard. The girl’s uncle along with her parents and other relatives were searching for the girl for over three hours when they finally heard her cries and rescued her. The alleged rapist, however, managed to flee and was still absconding.

The FIR states that the accused, Gogi, who lived near the girl’s house allegedly forcibly kidnapped her in a car in late evening when her parents were away. The girl later told the police that she cried at the pitch of her voice but no one could hear her because of the loud noise coming from the jagrata and a marriage party. The police said the medical examination of the victim was conducted at the Civil Hospital today, which has confirmed the rape. The victim’s parents are settled in the village but belong to Bihar. The girl studies in class-7 in a local school. 



Female foeticide may lead to other problems’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 1
“If the unethical practice of female foeticide is not curbed immediately then the result will be an increase in the number of AIDS patients, homosexuality and prostitution”, said Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary to the Government of Punjab, who was the chief guest on the first conference on population education on “Female Foeticide-update on its causes and prevention”, held at D.D. Jain College of Education for Women, here today.

Mr Kashyap said female foeticide was an assault on morality and to an extent science was to be blamed for it. The concept of pre-diagnostic technique was started in the developed countries to know if there was any deformity in the baby, any incurable ailment existed or there was any threat to the mother. These “safety devices” (techniques) were hailed in the developed countries but unfortunately this research was put in an unethical way in India, said Mr Kashyap.

Mr Kashyap said that sex-ratio in Punjab had declined drastically. It came down from 875 to 793 (according to the latest census). It was very unfortunate to learn that people in the state considered daughters to be a life-long burden on parents. “Rather girls should be given training of karate so that they can become more bold and brave and fight their own battle”, said Mr Kashyap.

The Principal Secretary further stressed the collective need to find the causes and measures to stop foeticide. The role of doctors, families, priests, older generations and society should be thoroughly discussed and enforcement of laws, that can stop it, was needed.

Mr Kashyap suggested that in the age of computers, a strong data base was needed to know how many tests were done by the doctors and how many abortions were conducted, the reasons why these abortions were conducted. He said an effective monitoring was needed to curb the evil of female foeticide. The help of media, electronic and print both could be very helpful to bring awareness among the masses. The role of woman should be highlighted. People should know that she was not the reproductive part but the productive part of the society. Public participation should be ensured in such awareness programmes, said Mr Kashyap.

Dr S.K. Chaturvedi, state representative, UNICEF, New Delhi, in his address said that the step taken by Akal Takht was to be appreciated. “We should raise the values of the girl child. The girls should be provided proper education, equal care, health services, love and affection. There have been so many revolutions in the world but there has not been a health revolution”, said Dr Chaturvedi.

Prof Satish Sharma, Member, Panjab University Senate, also complimented the organisers of the workshop. He said the sex-ratio in Punjab was touching very low and alarming levels and it was the duty of every Punjabi and other social organisations to create awareness on the issue.

Ms Nisha Sarad, Director Public Instruction Colleges, Punjab, said that woman was the richness and glory of the society. She said that woman herself should rock the system, and not the cradle alone. The declining growth rates were really alarming, she said. People should realize that behind every successful man, there was a woman, said Ms Sarad.

Amongst others present on the occasion were Dr Ramesh Kapoor, Mr Narinder Kumar Jain, Dr Rajinder Kaur, and Dr (Mrs) Chander Mohini.



Kakkar’s family shocked at PAU decision
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
For the better part of his tenure with Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), the late Dr Som Nath Kakkar, former professor, worked for the development and organisation of cultural activities in the varsity through organisation of functions, competitions and trips. Today, 22 years after his death and the regular organisation of a youth festival named after him, his wife and other surviving family members are too shocked to react to the university’s decision of changing the name of the annual youth festival from Dr Som Nath Kakkar Memorial Youth Festival to PAU Inter College Youth Festival.

What is more perturbing for the family, living in HouseFed flats on Pakhowal road here, was that the university authorities did not even bother to take them into confidence before taking such a harsh decision for the family. Ms Usha Kakkar, the late teacher’s wife, in fact came to know about the sordid development through Ludhiana Tribune only and was at a loss of words to express her horror and the university’s decision.

“I just could not believe this,” she said talking to Ludhiana Tribune in a choked voice. Fighting her tears she asks that for 22 years the university, grateful to her husband for his contribution in making a name of the varsity in cultural activities, constituted the youth festival in his memory and now suddenly after change of guard, the name had been changed. Struggling to hold back her tears, the woman said no one even bothered to consult them or institute some different honourable memorial for her late husband.

“I am yet to understand how had Dr Kakkar’s name harmed the youth festival? Are the authorities trying to insult us by erasing Dr Kakkar’s name? If it was there for the last 22 years, why did they suddenly decide to erase it now? I think the university must concentrate on doing something helpful for the farmers instead of exhuming skeletons from the closets,” said Ms Kakkar.

Recalling his contributions in the field of various cultural activities, his wife said that he was the one who started organising various activities in the university. “Since the inception of PAU in 1962, Dr Kakkar had made his mission to add a cultural touch to this agricultural university. He worked for so many years and organised many programmes even when there was no auditorium in PAU. I still remember whenever there used to be a function he would come home after midnight and used to skip his meals for this.”

“For 17 years he worked day in and day out for the development of cultural activities and he died on August 5, 1979. His death came as a shock not only to his family but to whole of the university. After his death, the then DSW, Dr Pirthipal Singh, proposed that the true tribute to him would be to constitute the PAU annual function in his name. So it was decided and the festival was called Kakkar Memorial Youth Festival.” said Ms Kakkar.

The decision of the university to drop Dr Kakkar’s name has reopened her wounds as she asks with pain in her eyes: “Are they forgetting his contribution or they are trying to humiliate us?”



Cop donates eyes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 1
Mr Parkash Singh, a police inspector posted here, who died recently, became the first employee of the Punjab Police to have donated his eyes to the Eye Bank, Mansuran. Originally belonging to Nawan Shahr, he had been bed-ridden for a long time. He was motivated to pledge his eyes by Mr Balwinder Singh, another cop from Punjab Police, who actively campaigns for the cause of eye donation. The eyes of Mr Parkash Singh have successfully been transplanted to two persons hailing from Jalandhar and Ludhiana districts. The operations were done free of cost by Dr Ramesh, Director of the Eye Bank, Mansuran. 



Clothing for the physically challenged
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, December 1
Most of us have come to terms with disability either as a victim or as a family member, friend or acquittance of the physically challenged person. Usually the person with physical limitations have to wear ordinary clothes that do not cater to his needs.

Punjab has the highest number of the physically challenged persons in the country. Taking cognizance of the situation. Dr Neelam Grewal, Associate Professor in the Department of Clothing and Textiles in the College of Home Science, has been conducting research on designing need-based clothing for the physically challenged across a wide spectrum of age groups and disabilities since 1995. These include polio victims, orthopaedically handicapped, quadriplegics, cerebral palsy victims etc. Their main problems related to clothing are in donning and doffing a complete garment or a sleeve/leg/ neckline, difficulty in manipulation of fastners, camouflaging the disability, cumbersome bulk of garments for the wheelchair users, bum pushers and the bed-ridden. Use of calipers, crutches, orthorollators compounds also add to their problems.

Garments having features such as a full or a half front opening conceded in the design features, shoulder plackets to widen the neckline, wider arm holds and the use of kimonomagyan, reglan and dolmen sleeves make the doning and doffing easier. Necklines of saree blouses, T-shirt, frocks have been made adjustable with the use of a string and a bead that can be easily manipulated with stiff/weak fingers and hands. Spread open wrap around skirt, jackets, shirt tops have been found to be of immense use for the bed-ridden persons and the wheelchair users. These can be simply spread open on a bed and the person be lifted into these. Many a times such persons could complete the rest of the dressing by themselves. The bulk of the garments may be reduced by varying the front and the back length of the shirt//kameez or a trouser top. This not only increases comfort of the wearer but checks the soiling and wetting of the garments as well. For those who prefer to wear a saree, a pre-pleated saree with stitched pleats has been designed.

In the case of the lower garments, zipper openings on both sides either at the top (for person with pelvic disability) on at the lower end (for those with stiffness of leg, feet, ankles) makes it easier to slip over the garment by widening these while wearing. Use of velero at the trousers crotch and two-pieced crotchless salwar makes management of incontinuance easier. Addition of side openings, having zipper or velero fastners in the legs of trousers and salwars increases the access to calipers, leg support and rollators while reinforcements adds to the life of the garments of bum pushers.

Use of detachable yokes in the frocks of the girls having problem of drooling due to cerebral palsy reduces the burden of the caretaker as only the yoke can be easily removed and washed instead of washing the whole garment. The accessories designed include undergarments, tubular socks, adjustable mitten sheets (for protecting hand of the crawler) and pillow cases with detachable pieces. These garments have been found to have a high acceptance among the users and their caretakers as these add to the comfort, make many persons self-reliant, camouflage the disability and reduce the stress of the caretakers. “Conducting such need-based research has been an immensely educative and a satisfying experience,” said Ms Amanpreet and Sukhvir who have just finished working on clothing for quaderplegies. The researchers are now in the process of preparing the proto-types of these garments so that the scientifically indicated knowledge may be spread among the needy.



Competitions for visually, physically challenged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 1
Today was a joyous day for both physically and mentally challenged children of the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre. A large number of students got an opportunity to show their talent before a jam packed hall of the VRTC where a function was organised this morning by members of Asian Club. The Asian Club is regular organisers of cultural shows that gives the students a chance to display their talent notwithstanding challenged children.

The club had organised a host of competitions for them. They had organised writing competition but with a difference. The students had to write in Braille. The children for the competition were drawn from K.G. to higher classes. There was a nursery rhyme competition for the tiny ones. The senior students debated on the topic ‘Advantages and disadvantages of co-education’ hotly. One participant said that she was thrilled to express her views and felt that more opportunities of this nature should be provided to them. She said, “Though we are visually challenged , yet we have keen intellect. Moreover such- like opportunities enhance our confidence”.

There were many competitions aglore. The competitions that had a large number of competitors were gazal and song rendering. A little girl from Asian Club, Akanksha, presented a delightful dance. The project director, Ms Vandana and Project co-ordinator Dildeep welcomed the chief guest of the functio, Mr. E.M. Johnson, the principal of VRTC.

The guest of honour was Dr K.P. Singh, a renowned surgeon and Mr Rakeshof of Paramount Info Park. Sukhminder Singh , President of the club anchored the show very ably.



Dumb beasts of burden search for a ‘voice’

Ludhiana, December 1
Scene I: A man is shepherding a pack of donkeys loaded with bricks into a street where the stuff is to be un-loaded by him. At the back of the small procession of donkeys is a poor little cub who, in spite of having a wounded hoof that has been padded with cloth, is struggling hard to keep pace with the pack. Destination arrived, the man starts unloading the animals as fast as he can. The little injured donkey shifts the weight of his burden from the good leg to the injured one and vice-versa for a while, then nudges his way through the waiting herd to be close to his master.

Obviously, the animal wanted to be unloaded immediately, ahead of others, as the pain in his bad hoof might have worsened. But the master was not that kind or understanding as expected by the poor, dumb animal. But an animal lover, who was watching the scene, came to the rescue of the injured donkey. The man was quick to read the animal’s unspoken plea and he unloaded the animal. The sick animal experienced relief and pain, by turns, as if being tortured purposefully.

Scene II: A mule-driven cart , loaded with fertiliser bags, causes a traffic jam on a Damoria bridge lane as the animal , exhausted and fatigued, falls on the road. Too much of a burden already and the imposing upward accent are enough to send the animal down on his legs. Some labourers on the way rush to the rescue of, not the animal, but its owner who overburdens it. After some cajoling, the animal is again on its legs. Those waiting for the jam to open up, heave a sigh of relief. But no one, including the animal’s owner, understands the mute protest which the animal tried to register by refusing to proceed further.

Scene III: A horse with a stiff leg afflicted with some disease, is struggling to keep himself alive, grazing on grass in parks and boulevards in the Urban estate area along the Metro road. The poor, miserable horse has to make an effort to move as little as a step. Maybe the disease finishes him before he starves to death. Inquiries reveal that the owner does not find it worthwhile to get the animal treated, so he decides to leave the poor animal to its fate.

Atrocities on donkeys, mules , horses and bullocks — some of the beasts of burden — are a common sight in the city. And with an ever-increasing number of mule-driven rehras in the city, these atrocities are on the rise too. Though a number of rules and legislations exist in favour of the animals these are not being implemented. Despite the fact that the city also has a couple of animal welfare organisations, these beasts of burden continue to be over-burdened and exploited by their owners.

This correspondent is not aware of any worthwhile effort in the past one year or so on the part of any of the city-based pro-animal organisations to mitigate the sufferings of these dumb creatures.

Unless strict measures are taken on a large scale by challaning over-loaded animal-driven carriages, the rehra-people cannot be persuaded to be kind to their animals. Merely delivering a lecture on ‘cruelty to animals’ to a score of them once in a year at a hurriedly convened camp would not do. Or maybe, such rehras can be slowly phased out from the city.



Murder accused acquitted
A Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 1
Ravi Kumar alias Jajji, an orchestra group owner of Dharmpura, and Gurvinder Singh of Pathankot, have been acquitted from the charges of murdering an orchestra dancer Sikander Kaur, alias Rajni, in October, 2000, by strangulation.

Mr A.K. Sharma, Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, acquitted both the murder accused as the prosecution failed to prove the allegations levelled against them.

According to the prosecution, on October 3, 2000, accused persons went to the residence of Rajni at about midnight in a drunken state and asked her to accompany them for a function. She refused to go after which they allegedly strangulated her to death.

They were booked on October 4, 2000, at police station Division No. 2, Ludhiana, on a statement of Nachhattar Kaur, mother of the deceased.



Youth Police to coordinate traffic
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 1
The Punjab Police, with the cooperation of British Council, has set up a new organisation, Ek Nai Asha’, in 13 districts of the state to improve its image. The members of the organisation, Youth Police, will help in controlling the traffic.

The Khanna police district has 20 members and the experiment is being supervised by Mr Ram Singh, SP (Operations). According to him, it will help students know the traffic rules and problems being faced by the police in implementing of these rules.

The Youth Police here, along with Mr Jagdish Singh Khera, DSP, and Mr Anil Kohli, SHO, challaned over 100 vehicles violating the traffic rules on the GT Road recently.



Industry hails abolition of octroi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
The industrial and traders associations here have hailed the government’s decision to abolish octroi from today. They said the step taken by the State Government would give a boost to the state industry and trade, as number of states had already abolished the tax.

Mr Inderjit Singh, president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings ( CICU) in a press note issued here today, said, “It is a belated decision taken by the government, which was lying pending for the past five years. It would save the industrialists and traders from facing the wrath of government officials.’’

Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, CICU, asserted that abolition of octroi would not only provide relief to the trade and industry from consistant harassment, octroi evasion and rampant corruption but would also have a decascading effect on the prices of goods.

The President of the chamber Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, urged the government that the proposed high- level committee for finding out an alternate resources of income in lieu of octroi, be directed not to target the industry and trade to replenish octroi revenue losses. In the real spirit of the abolition of octroi, the goods should become cheaper in proportion to the abolished octroi duty. 



SSIs oppose govt’s de-reservation policy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
The small scale industries here have opposed the Union Government’s recent move to de-reserve six sectors, including auto-component, pharmaceuticals, food processing, packing and stationery. Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India, in a press note issued here today decried the move by Ministry of Small Scale Industries to de-reserve items in six sectors, which has been forwarded to the De- reservation Committee.

He pointed out that the thrust of the government had always been on boosting exports to earn much-needed foreign exchange to balance the trade. As per the current policy, any unit that exported 50 per cent or more of its production, could invest any limit in plant and machinery, and was not barred been manufacturing any reserved item.

Mr Joginder Kumar said: “We strongly urge the group of Ministers and the Chairman, Mr L.K. Advani to discuss the issue with the representatives of tiny and SSI sector, before taking any final decision in the matter, as it would have a far reaching impact on this vital sector.”


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