Saturday, March 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Daylight robbery at gunpoint
Zen-borne men take away Rs 10 lakh
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 15
Four gun-wielding youths reportedly robbed two men of Rs 10 lakh here today. The employees of a company that manufactures bodies of vehicles were robbed while transferring the money from one bank to another.

Mr Gulzar Singh, Accountant of the HMM Coaches Ltd, and Mr Anil Sodhi, Assistant Accounts Officer of the company, had been told to withdraw the money from the Sector 11 branch of the HDFC Bank and deposit Rs 5 lakh out of it in the Sector 8 branch of Punjab National Bank and disburse the rest as salary.

After they had withdrawn the money, the two men were heading towards the Sector 8 branch of the PNB in a car (CH-01V-2355) at about 1.30 pm, with Mr Sodhi at the wheel.

The money was in a bag kept near the gear box between the two front seats.

As they took a turn from the road dividing Sectors 9 and 8 towards the Sector 8 market, they spotted a Maruti Zen car (CH-05-8697-T) approaching them at a high speed.

As Mr Sodhi turned the car towards the bylane at the rear of the HUDA offices in Sector 8, he realised that the Zen was following them. As they slowed down, the Zen zoomed past them, took a sharp turn and halted, blocking their car.

There were four youths in the Zen. Taken by surprise, Mr Sodhi stopped the car, at which two youths — one Sikh and another wearing a cap — alighted from the Zen and rushed towards them, with each holding a gun in his hand.

While Mr Gulzar Singh had rolled up the window on his side, Mr Sodhi’s window was down, through which, the two men pointed a gun at them. They, then, signalled Mr Sodhi to give them the bag. Mr Gulzar Singh, reportedly, tried to hold on to the bag, but the men were powerful and he had to let go. With the bag with them, the men rushed back to the Zen and zoomed away.

Since it was the lunch hour, a number of persons witnessed the robbery. However, as the men were armed, no one came forward to stop them. The police was informed and senior officials, including the Superintendent of Police, Mr Manoj Yadav, rushed to the spot.

When contacted, Mr Yadav said they had got some vital clues and the case would soon be solved. He said police parties had been sent to Ambala and Ropar.

A case under Sections 392, 120-B and 34 of the IPC has been registered.



Court order on ensuring girl child’s security
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
Strange but true. A four-month-old girl was recently referred to the PGI here with multiple fractures on the skull, besides other injuries, after an attempt was made to strangulate her. The family history of the child revealed that her sister, too, had died at the same age.

Concerned over her welfare, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked counsel for the state of Punjab to contact Ropar’s Deputy Commissioner for ensuring her safety.

Expressing apprehensions regarding the girl’s safety, Childline — an association set up for helping children — had, in a letter addressed to Mr Justice J.S. Narang of the High Court, stated that the possibility of the victim being physically abused once again could not be ruled out. The association had added that inquiries on the telephone had revealed that the father had wrongly mentioned his name.

Going into the background of the case, the association had revealed that Manpreet of Burj village in Ropar district was admitted to the children’s ward at the PGI’s Advanced Paediatric Centre after being referred by the Panjab Health Systems Corporation. She had sustained multiple fractures on the skull. Besides, there was swelling on her neck, along with bruises on the abdomen.

The letter had further stated that a medico-legal case had been registered but it would take its own course. Centre coordinator Kulpreet Dhillon had added that they had read an article in The Tribune on March 7 regarding a visit by Mr Justice Narang to the hospital and his desire “to ensure better treatment of the inmates of the jails and the jail hospitals” and as such were seeking his indulgence.

Taking up the case, Acting Chief Justice Mr G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar of the High Court observed: “The letter dated March 11 by the Coordinator addressed to one of the Judges was treated as a writ petition in public interest. We have perused the contents of the letter and are of the opinion that the issue raised therein needs further consideration. We have requested advocates Ms Abha Rathore and Ms Munisha Gandhi to assist the court. They may, after investigation into the issue which is the subject matter of the letter, submit a status report to the court”.

The judges concluded: “Advocate Ms Lisa Gill, who is on the panel of the Chandigarh Administration, is requested to accept notice on behalf of the Administration. Punjab Deputy Advocate General Charu Tuli is also requested to accept the notice on behalf of the state of Punjab. The counsel for Chandigarh Administration and the state of Punjab should contact the secretaries of the Medical Health and Social Welfare Departments and file their affidavits with reference to the issue raised in the letter. Ms Tuli is also requested to contact Ropar’s Deputy Commissioner who should ensure the child’s safety and also that she is brought to the PGI on the appointed day”.

The case will now come up for further hearing on March 22.



FDs worth 3 lakh seized from Cheema’s house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation have recovered fixed deposit receipts totalling about Rs 3 lakh from the Sector 17 house of UT Police Inspector J.S. Cheema, who had been booked by the CBI yesterday for allegedly demanding and accepting illegal gratification in a case pertaining to fake degrees and certificates.

During the searches at his Sector 17 government accommodation, which continued till late last night, sleuths also recovered bonds and some other documents, some of which are said to have details about various bank lockers.

Sources add that a house in Sector 40, belonging to Cheema, was also searched and some documents found there were taken into their possession by CBI sleuths.

A special CBI team has also been sent to his native village near Jind, where his family is said to own a farmhouse. CBI sources said that once the team from Jind returns, all the documents will be scrutinised and possible leads will be pursued.

After the CBI arrested a chemist from Sector 15, Sudarshan Kumar, for allegedly acting as a conduit on the behest of Cheema, the Inspector absconded. He faces charges of demanding Rs 60,000 from the proprietor of a Sector 22 coaching centre, Ajay Kumar, in return for not filing a challan before the court against him in a case relating fake degrees and certificates.

Meanwhile, sources in the police department said that Cheema today applied for medical leave. Senior police officers, however, did not comment on the matter.



Death of Coffee House
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The closure the other day of oldest branch of the Indian Coffee House in Chandigarh’s Sector 17 shopping centre following a court order is more than the routine closure of an eating joint. Over the years, the Coffee House had become a prominent landmark of Chandigarh and a part of the literary-cum-cultural circuit of the City Beautiful. It is, therefore, unfortunate that it had to fall a victim to a tenant-landlord dispute and give in to the inexorable march of modernity and change.

There seems to be no dearth of the lovers of Coffee House in the city. A visit to the Coffee House on Friday showed groups of people standing opposite the locked doors of the Coffee House and gazing at it wistfully and recalling the good times they have had in the Coffee House, discussing events of the world over a hot cup of coffee with friends and acquaintances. Many a love affair blossomed in the Coffee House.

They included lawyers, shopkeepers from the neighbourhood, university and college lecturers, journalists, intellectuals, artists and playwrights. Can the Coffee House, which has for years offered them an affordable cup of the beverage that uplifts the spirits, be saved from permanent closure? This was the question uppermost in their minds. But nobody had a straight answer.

Most of those who passed through the corridors in front of the Coffee House also made it a point to read the brief court notice pasted on a pillar. Dated 13.3.2002. It said: “Ground floor of SCO No. 12, Sector 17-E, Chandigarh, under the occupancy of Indian Coffee House Cooperative Society, Bungalow Road, New Delhi-110067, found completely locked and no worker was found at the spot”.
Signed Ramlal Bailiff.
Court of Civil Judge (Senior Division),

On a bench in front of the Coffee House sat a group of forlorn looking former waiters of the Coffee House. There were a total of 35 workers at the Coffee House who had now been rendered jobless. The management of the Coffee House knew that it was living on borrowed time ever since the landlords filed a case against them for eviction. Therefore, no renovation, no new additions and alterations had been made in the Coffee House over the years even when the entire neighbourhood was steadily undergoing a metamorphosis and an extensive facelift.

“We had been depositing the monthly rent regularly in the court. Therefore, it is wrong to say, as reported in a section of the press, that the court order has gone against us because we were not depositing the rent”, said Parmanand, who has been working as a waiter at the Coffee House. “But we have not given up hope. We are trying to obtain a stay order from the court. We had to leave in a hurry on Wednesday. All the furniture, including tables, chairs, utensils etc are locked inside the Coffee House and hope to resume functioning if we get the stay order...”

The Indian Coffee House opened its first outlet in Chandigarh nearly 40 years ago in Sector 22 from where it shifted to its present location in Sector 17. Later, another outlet was opened in Sector 17 opposite the water feature, but for most of the old-timers and Coffee House lovers, the original branch remained their favourite haunt. A large number of journalists also made it a point to have a cup of coffee here before driving to the Civil Secretariat in search of news. In the winters, the friendly waiter would serve the coffee to customers enjoying a warm sunshine outside or while seated in a car in the parking lot.



Zoo to get 100 new animals, birds
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir (Patiala), March 15
Under its exchange programme the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhat Bir, will get over 100 new animals and birds from other zoos in the country.

Famous for its healthy Royal Bengal tigers, the Chat Bir zoo has made the first ever biggest deal with 10 other well known zoos and parks located in Delhi, Assam, Orissa, Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam, Maharastra, Gujarat, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Sources in the zoo disclosed that Chat Bir zoo would get 101 animals in exchange for 76 animals. Chhat Bir zoo would be deporting lions, tigers, monkeys, sambhars, black bucks, Himalayan black bear, hog deers, blue rock pigeon, Barheaded goose etc.

The authorities have decided to deport animals and birds to other zoos for their exotic species which the Chat Bir lacks on the directions of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), revealed Dr. Vinod Sharma, Chief Warden (Zoos) Punjab.

It may be recalled that the CZA, had visited all the zoos in the country after the death of White tigers in Nandankanan Zoo, Orissa. The CZA had asked the authorities of different zoos to exchange their surplus animals, birds and reptiles with other zoos to reduce the mortality rate in zoo inhabitants.

Following the directions of the CZA, Guddu, a Royal Bengal tiger was the first animal that was sent to Kanpur zoo by the Chhat Bir zoo authorities on July 12, 2001.

After that some other animals and birds including a male Zebra, a pair of Emus, Golden Pheasants, one pair of African parrots — blue winged Macaws — and two pairs of brown Cock Teals were brought in October last year under the exchange programme.

To curtail over-population at the zoo, the authorities have already conducted vasectomy operations on nine adult lions. Eight are to be operated upon next week.

Located on the Chandigarh-Patiala highway about 20 km away from Chandigarh, Chhat Bir zoo houses 861 animals of which 428 are birds, 417 animals and 16 reptiles.



PU decision on thesis
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
Panjab University has decided to allow typing on both sides of the paper to the students submitting their thesis for PhD, MSc and M Phil degrees, an official press note said here today.

Earlier candidates could type on one side of the paper only with double space between two successive lines. Candidates can now use one and half interline space.

The step has been taken in order to economise valuable national forest resources by checking wastage of papers, according to the academic council of the university.

Students have also been asked to stop using a blank-sheet before the page carrying figures or tables and to insert these on the text-page.

However, keeping in view the hardships of students whose theses are in pipeline, it has been decided to accept the submission of all categories of theses typed with double interline space on one side of the paper up to May 13.



Inculcating traffic sense in classrooms
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, March 15
Believing that the residents grumble about wearing seat belts and taking other precautionary steps while driving because they are not taught traffic rules in their young days, some of the city schools are planning to include a chapter on traffic rules in the curriculum, besides teaching the students about traffic management through cartoon films and even songs.

The chapter is likely to be introduced in the next academic session and modalities are being worked out. The school authorities are reportedly in touch with senior police authorities, traffic experts, and teachers from the neighbouring states for the purpose.

The decision to inculcate traffic sense to the children is being viewed as an important step towards road safety as a large number of students are directly or indirectly involved in the accidents due to over-speeding and other violations of the Motor Vehicle Act. Moreover, the authorities believe that a lesson learnt in school days is a “lesson learnt well”.

According to sources, the teachers are serious about the whole affair. The strategy has already been chalked out. For the first time, perhaps, they are asking the policemen to come to their schools and teach the tiny tots all about stop lines and red lights, besides wearing seat belts and safety hamlets.

“If all goes well, the students will be learning all about traffic along with their English lessons and other subjects,” says a teacher. “Under the proposed scheme, we hope to inculcate road safety sense in the minds of the students through a special chapter on road safety, even through songs and films. A special chart giving details of the accidents will also be installed on the school premises”.

The schools are also planning to send the students to traffic park in Sector 23. “They will be taught to look before they proceed and to stop at the traffic lights,” elaborates a senior police officer.

“The idea is to make sure that even a child of five can understand the rules governing the free flow of traffic and stop his father every time he breaks a law”.

The process of taking the students to the traffic park started last year — according to sources. “Several students, not only from Chandigarh, but also from SAS Nagar were trained at the traffic park during the past few months”, claims another officer. “We want the children to realise that traffic is no kids play,” he concludes.



‘Sex ratio alarming in city’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
“If one were to go by the data available on city’s sex ratio he will be shocked to realise that there has been a systematic killing of the girl child in the city over the last 10 years,” said Mr M Ramshekhar, Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh, while delivering the key note address at the one-day workshop on evolving intervention strategy for checkmating the declining sex ratio in the city held at the Ambedkar Bhavan here today.

Quoting figures, Mr Ramshekhar informed that although a declining sex ratio in the city is not a recent phenomenon, there was a marked decline in the number of girls born in the city in the last 10 years. “The sex ratio figure has dropped from 790 in 1991 to 773 in 2001 but this figure is not as telling as the data available for the number of girls in the 0-6 age group in the city which has fallen from 899 girl children per 1,000 boys in 1991 to 845 in 2001,” he said.

“When one compares the rural-urban differences in the child sex ratio, the facts which emerge are even more shocking. The number of girls as compared to boys in the villages in and around Chandigarh is low but in the city it is even less than that. Which just means that killing of the girl child is more common in the city than the rural areas,” Mr Ramshekhar stated.

Taking a dig at the economically well-off and educated city population, the DC also said figures prove that the child sex ratio in slums in the city is better than other parts of the city.

Suggesting a two pronged strategy to control this distressing trend, he said in the short-term, strict punitive action against the culprits is needed. “Danda works best for such people and that is what is needed in the short run but in the long-run, the status of women has to be brought in equality to men even if it requires reservation for women in employment,” he said.

Mr Ramshekhar also emphasised that there is a need to implement the PNDT act with strictness and create a reporting mechanism which would be able to track down the more vulnerable groups among women. “Involvement of NGOs and citizens is welcome in such a reporting mechanism. A helpline and complaint boxes can be started in the city for the purpose, all MTP centres should be registered, the ultrasonography machines too can be counter coded,” he said.

Prof H.S. Mehta talked about the reasons for the declining sex ratio in the city and the trends in the light of the rural-urban distribution. Dr M.P. Minocha, Director, Family Welfare, UT, talked about the status of the problem and the status of the implementation of the PNDT Act. Mr Shamlal Goyal, Director, Census, in the city gave a presentation on the provisional census report of 2001, the reasons and the ways out.

Earlier, Ms Madhvi Kataria, Director Social Welfare UT, in her welcome address talked about the social awareness as well as the implementation of the PNDT Act. She also informed the participants about the various schemes of the Administration in favour of the girl child.

Organised by the Voluntary Health Association of Punjab, the workshop was attended by more than a 100 people from all walks of life including NGOs, medical practitioners and health workers. The workshop was also addressed by Ms Veena Kumari, Dr Rajani Lamba and Col Kulbir Singh. A play titled ‘Chiri dee amber wal noo udan’ was also staged by Ms Anita and Shabdish from SAS Nagar.



BBMB gets computerised SLDC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The Union Power Minister, Mr Suresh Prabhu, here today launched the country’s first computerised system load dispatch centre (SLDC) at the Bhakra Beas Management Board complex to ensure less power breakdowns and assured and constant frequency.

This is a pioneering state-of-the-art technological demonstration effort under the unified load dispatch scheme (ULDS) to achieve the goal of the National Power Grid, the minister said while formally opening the SLDC.

The BBMB has spent Rs 37.5 crore to develop the SLDC, as part of the ULDS which will cost seven northern states Rs 480 crore.

Mr Prabhu announced to make Chandigarh a centre of excellence within months and asked Adviser to Administrator, Neeru Nanda to prepare plans in this regard.

This will be amongst three other regional centres of excellence to be developed in Goa, Orissa and Pondicherry.

Mr Prabhu said that Chandigarh would, after getting the status of centre of excellence, encourage Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Rajasthan to model their state electricity boards on the pattern of Chandigarh to constantly get funds for their future needs.

The scheme will ensure quality, uninterrupted power at reasonable rates in the city and will be 100 per cent financed by the Central Government.

The lower rate of power will be ensured through reduced losses in transmission and distribution.

The minister informed that he had set up a committee on power business and it would meet in Delhi next month.

The minister advised organisations like the BBMB to explore opportunities in business, assuring them full support in this effort.

The Union Minister of State for Power, Ms Jaywanti Mehta, said with this achievement, the country had completed two phases of realising the dream of a National Power Grid and three more remain to be achieved.

The BBMB Chairman, Mr Rakesh Nath, said that an additional 112 mw power would be added through the BBMB and 18 mw would be produced within the Bhakra mainline canal.

The BBMB, Member, Irrigation, Mr S. K. Duggal, Power Member, Mr Amrik Singh, Haryana Power Secretary, Mrs Meenakshi Anand Chaudhary, were among those present on the occasion.



Arrangements for Navratra mela
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 15
A token system will be introduced during the nine-day Navratra mela commencing on April 13 in the Mata Mansa Devi Temple complex and as many as 15 counters will be set up for this purpose near the bus stand in the mela area.

This was decided at a meeting of the Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board here yesterday. All officers of the board as well as the officers of department concerned should make all arrangements to facilitate pilgrims visiting during the Navratra mela. The police was also asked to make adequate arrangements for the mela.

Also, 50 special buses of Haryana Roadways would be started from various places like Ambala, Kalka, Naraingarh, Pinjore and nearby towns. Apart from this, special CTU buses will also be started from the Sector 17 and 43 bus stands in Chandigarh.

Three temporary dispensaries will be set up near Swastik Vihar. Two ambulances and a mobile van will be engaged. A retail shop will be opened here.



Coffee of all tastes
Harvinder Khetal

Tribune News Service

Did you know that the “feel-good” effect of coffee beans was first discovered in 850 AD by an Ethiopian shephard who noticed that his goats became “friskier” after eating beans? Well, ever since coffee drinking has graduated to being an activity of indulging oneself in a bar and coffee-making an art that has elevated to the rank of global competitions.

The latest in this field is the opening of a Cafe Coffee Day outlet in Sector 35 here.

The sleek and trendy “coffee pub” has behind it the profile of a company with 120 years of coffee-growing tradition and 5,000 acres of plantations and processing facilities. No wonder that the Rs 250-crore Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company Limited is India’s largest exporter of coffee. The group also runs coffee retail points selling Coffee Day brand of roast and ground coffee.

The three types of coffee with seven flavours, in both hot and cold varieties, are stimulating from the first sip. While the creamy Frappe is the hot favourite, the magic of cardamom flavour is evident in the iced Arabian Heights. The other one that the brew masters whip up is the Eskimo. A chiller to the core, this coffee is prepared for the igloo effect.

If you are in a hurry, just walk out with a takeaway of your choice at Rs 12 in a disposable glass. The no-frill strong black coffee uplifts mellow moods. Blended to a smooth creamy perfection with imported flavours, you can go in for Cappuccino (tip: eat the froth first and then drink the coffee) or the hot Mocha with a swirl of chocolate.

You can also proclaim that you are a coffee lover by choosing from the Coffee Day collections. On offer are cool T-shirts (from Rs 125 to Rs 150), funky mugs, snazzy caps and much more.

For those who stay away from tea and coffee, particularly children, there are exciting drinks. Strawberry Colada, a rich strawberry shake topped with whipped cream, is a real fruity delight. If you are feeling down in the dumps, Emerald Ice, a citrus drink, with a fresh tangy taste brings verve back into your spirit. There is also the cool blue curacao blended with ice.

To complement beverages, the cafe offers short eats that can double as mini meals. Take a pick of veggie rolls, sandwiches, burgers and farmhouse pizzas besides the chicken variations for Rs 20 to Rs 40. Top the eateries with desserts cakes, pastries or ice-creams to complete the course.



Vocational course a better option

“DO not go in for simple graduation if you have talent,” says young textile designer Vandana Sharma. “Instead of trying to make your career secure by going to the college and pursuing plain academics, go in for a vocational course or something else that you really feel motivated for,” she adds.

After doing plus-two, she was advised by her friends and relatives to get admission in a college with a good subject combination. But she opted for a course in fashion designing as she knew that she was “creative and imaginative”. Academics can be pursued alongside through correspondence,” she says.

“People around me could not understand why I wanted to join a textile designing course while I could easily complete my graduation and go in for competitive examinations,” she says. “But I wanted to do what my heart told me to and so without succumbing to any pressure, I joined the course and today I am quite happy about it,” she says.



Booked for defrauding
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The police has booked top officials of a Calcutta-based investment firm on charges of defrauding several local residents. A Sector 34 resident, Mr R.K. Gupta, and eight other persons lodged a complaint with the police that they had invested about Rs 7.5 lakh with the firm, which promised to pay interest on the amount and issued post-dated cheques. The cheques, however, bounced. The firm had set up an office in Sector 8.

When the investors went to the Sector 8 address of the firm, they found that the firm had closed shop here. They even went to Calcutta to trace the firm, but learnt that the firm had closed down. A case has been registered by the Economics Offences Wing of the city police.

A resident of Dadu Majra, Balwan Kumar, has reported that his shop in Kumhar Colony was broken into and Rs 15,000 along with a large quantity of provisions and other items were stolen. The stolen goods include 29 packets of ghee, 12 bottles of oil, 72 pieces of soap, three 15-kg tins of ghee and a large number of cigarettes. In another case a Sector 10 resident, Mr Kulwinder Singh, has reported that his house was broken into and cash worth Rs 10,000 and a computer hard disc were stolen. The police has registered cases.

A Sector 16 resident, Mr Arun Vohra, has reported that several persons, some of whom were identified as Sukhdev, Atul and Raj Rani, trespassed into his house and assaulted and threatened him. The police has registered a case.

Vehicle stolen
Lieut-Col H.K.J. Singh (retd), a resident of Sector 33, has reported that his Maruti car (CHK-3272) has been stolen from his residence.

A Burail resident, Mr Amarjit Singh, has reported that his Bullet motor cycle (CH-23-4574-T) has been stolen from Sector 34.

A Sector 37 resident, Mr Rajesh Mahajan, has reported that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (DL-3-S-8028) has been stolen from his residence. The police has registered cases.


Thief held
The police has arrested Vinod who had allegedly stolen a bicycle and some utensils from the Rajiv Colony residence of Deshraj on February 26. A case under sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered against him.

One arrested
The police has arrested Raj Kumar who is accused of killing Sanjay Kumar in a road accident near Housing Board Colony, Kalka.

2 booked
Hakam Singh and Gurcharan Singh were booked by the police for apprehension to breach of peace from Sector 21. A case under Sections 107, 151 of the Cr. P. C. has been registered. 



Workshop on documentation of exports
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised a one-day workshop on “Documentation for exports”. This workshop was jointly organised with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of Germany. The contents of the workshop included a discussion on various documents in respect of exports, imports and documents relating to letters of credit. The participants were also apprised of the exchange control regulations relating to imports.

Mr T.R. Sarangal, Director of Industries, Punjab, also interacted with the participants of the workshop and highlighted the services being offered by the Directorate of Industries for facilitating and promoting exports in their state.

The workshop also touched upon the subject of pricing for exports as for achieving the desired rate of growth in exports, effective pricing policy constitutes as essential element. Export pricing assumes strategic significance, especially because of the relatively lower technological base of the developing economies resulting in higher cost of production.


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