Monday, July 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Students find direction in IT courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
An unlimited number of application forms, limited seats and a great demand for vocational subjects practically sums up the scenario in city colleges. Admissions are almost over in these colleges going by the fact that most of the colleges have exhausted their seats in the science streams while a few seats are still vacant in the humanities stream in these colleges.

Functional English in all colleges has seen a ‘house-full’ with cut-off percentage for the 30 seats quite high despite it being an option in humanities. Most colleges completed admission to this course on the first day itself.

In GGDSD College, Sector 32, B.Sc biotechnology (medical), a course which has been introduced this session onwards, saw the 40 seats being filled immediately, eliciting tremendous response from students.

Besides, courses in B.Sc computer applications and IT had attracted students with high percentages and seats were exhausted quite soon. Commenting on the trend towards vocational courses, the Principal, GGDSD College, Sector 32, Dr AC Vaid, said that this time priority for the students had been to arm themselves with a course other than the regular pass courses of B.Sc and BA. ‘‘We have received applications three to four times the number of total seats available with us,’’ he added.

While there are no seats left in B. Sc, nearly 25 per cent seats are vacant in most colleges in the arts stream. Keeping in view the shortage of staff in government colleges and expenses involved in employing additional temporary staff, most colleges are attempting to restrict the number of students in this session to make the ‘crowd manageable’. In private colleges, however, admissions are still on for the vacant seats in the arts stream.

With admissions to regular courses almost over going by the number of seats left, colleges are awaiting the centralised admissions to B.Com, M.Sc (IT), M.Com, B.CA classes in all city colleges scheduled to begin on July 16.

Meanwhile, the new session for the first, second and third year students will commence from tomorrow and colleges are gearing up for the classes.



Meeting to approve town’s master plan today
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 14
All is set for the meeting of the Punjab Regional and Town Planning Board, scheduled for tomorrow, under the chairmanship of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to approve the master plan for SAS Nagar.

The master plan, which has been prepared by the state's Town and Country Planning Department, will provide guidelines for the development of this township for the next 20 years. By the end of the next 20 years, according to this plan, SAS Nagar will be as big as Chandigarh, catering to a projected population of more than 5 lakh and as many as 50 sectors of its own.

A recreation zone spread over two sectors, a 500 bed hospital on the Kharar-Banur road, a small-scale and handicraft institutional zone near Ballomajra village, a golf course in an area of 200 acres along the Patiala Ki Rao choe are some of the features planned for the future.

The area under planning broadly runs between two seasonal rivulets, Patiala Ki Rao and another choe on the southern side. A total area of 16,642 hectares, covering area of 77 villages, has been declared as the planning area under the master plan which includes around 1,400 acres of industrial estate on the south-east rim of the town. The remaining area of about 8,000 acres constituting 34 villages has been earmarked as the agricultural zone. Once developed, the town would touch the Kharar-Banur road.

In a withdrawal from the earlier “faulty” planning, the planners have kept the industrial area on the southern side due to the prevailing wind direction. In the existing town, Industrial Area has been carved out on the north-west fringe.

A buffer zone of institutional and sports facilities has been planned between the Industrial Area and the residential sectors. On the pattern of Chandigarh, the town would have two city centres — one each of around 240 acres in Sector 62 and Sector 85. The two centres would be linked with Chandigarh and the Kharar-Banur road through a 200 feet wide road.

Another feature of the master plan is providing a bypass for the Punjab-bound traffic coming from Delhi. A connectivity of the Zirakpur-Patiala road with the Chandigarh — Ludhiana road has been proposed. A transport area along the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road has also been planned.

The draft of this master plan was submitted to the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ragunath Sahai Puri, in April by the department.



PUDA allots 493 plots to staff
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 14
In a move first of its kind since the establishment of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development authority (PUDA) in 1995, 493 residential plots will be allotted to its employees. Stating this, the minister for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, Mr Raghu Nath Sahai Puri, announced that the draw for these allotments would take place on July 16, at Community Centre Phase V here. The minister said that the draw was being taken out only to allot the plot number and sector to the applicant employees.

The allotment was being made at the prevailing reserve process per square yard charged from the general public and no discount of any variety would be allowed to the employees. Mr Puri announced that these plots measuring 125, 200 and 250 sq yd were located in Sector 67 and 68 of SAS Nagar. Earlier, employees had deposited 10 per cent of the price of the plot.



Delayed monsoon brings woes
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, July 14
Delayed monsoon has cast its shadow on scores of natural water features and artificial water bodies which are not only used to water fields and bathe cattle but also to earn revenue for the panchayats concerned resulting in hardships to the villagers of this part of the region. Water level in these bodies has started receding due to intense heat and resulting in death of water creatures.

Most affected are the shallow water ponds which are often used by villagers for making their cattle beat the heat besides releasing fish seedlings and to earn revenue for development works.

In Dhanauni village, about 2 km from Dera Bassi, fish started dying after water level in a pond, spread over four acres, went down.

According to Mr Major Singh, village sarpanch, the seedlings were released in the pond and the contract of fishing them out was given to a local person for the past three years. Mr Jaswinder Singh, a resident of the village, said some dead fish were noticed floating on the surface of the pond three days ago. The contractor had netted out a majority of the fish after noticing a drastic decline in water level of the pond.

‘‘What ever fish were left in the knee-deep water and slush, the migratory labourers and other residents took away. They used to struck at the pond in odd hours and take their quota of a day or two’’, claimed Mr Nagina Singh, an elderly villager.

A visit by a Chandigarh Tribune team revealed that over 50 fish were lying dead on the dry bed of the pond and about equal number were floating on the water surface. Crows and eagles were hovering over the pond and stray dogs were seen having a field day there.

Similar incidents were also reported in Chhat Bir zoo lake and Rajindra Tank, in Patiala recently.



Another dry monsoon likely
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Monsoon, or the lack of it, this year is on the same course as it was during the two most dry years in the past 20 years.

The data at the local Meteorological Office indicates that the lack of rain has been identical to the pattern in 1987 when drought prevailed and in 1992 when the rainfall was classified as deficient. However, the Director of the local Met Office, Mr S.C. Bhan, clarifies that the past data is no indication that the present year will be like the past.

Actually the monsoon was already reviving itself in the Bay of Bengal and also in the Western Ghats, Mr Bhan said adding that there was no possibility of any widespread rain in the next 48 hours. What about the cloud cover one has been seeing over the city in the past few days? . “This is just haze and a thin layer of cloud at a height of about 6 km and cannot cause rain,” Mr Bhan answered.

The data at the Met Office indicates that in 1987 the rainfall was the lowest ever recorded in the city at 27.5 cm as against the normal average of 86.6 cm in the city. That was declared a drought year. In 1992 the rainfall was 66 cm and classified as deficient by the Met Office. In both years the start of the monsoon had seen a break, meaning the start was not strong enough. Usually a break occurs in the last week of July and the monsoon revives itself in August for yet another spurt of rain.

These are just indicators and by no means a prediction about the outcome of rain. Till today the total rainfall in the city since June 1 — the date the official monsoon began — has been 12.5 cm. This is 9 cm less than normal.

With the revival of the monsoon around the corner, the deficit may be wiped out.

The Met Office said the break in monsoon had been caused when the system hit a trough. Usually this trough occurred over Rajasthan. This time it was over the Himalayas, thus a break away from the usual of July end.



Employees to take mass leave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Employees of all departments, boards, corporations and co-operative institutions of Punjab working at Chandigarh and field offices will take mass casual leave on July 23. A rally will also be organised in Sector 17 here on that day.

This was stated by Mr Nirmal Singh Ghuman, president, Punjab State Cooperative, Boards, Corporations, Workers/Employees Mahasangh here today.

He said leaders of various unions had taken the decision after the Chief Minister declined to meet them.

He reminded that the Mahasangh had organised a mass rally here on June 13 against the government policy of disinvestment in the state corporations. Mr A.K. Sachdeva, OSD to the Chief Minister had received a demand charter on that day, and had assured them that their demands would be sympathetically considered and a meeting with the Chief Minister arranged.

However, lamented Mr Ghuman, even after a lapse of one month, nothing had been done by the government except issuing some press statements. Due to indifferent attitude of the state government, he said, the mahasangh had been forced to organise a rally on July 23.

Mr A.K. Sharma, president, PSIDC Employees Union, said, ‘‘The government has slashed various allowances of corporation employees though they are not getting benefits availed by Punjab government employees like security of service, pension, medical facilities after retirement, nomination to PCS, housing facilities and gazetted status after a specific pay scale.’’

Mr Sharma said the recommendations of the disinvestment commission were a matter of concern for lakhs of employees in the state.

The mahasangh, he added, would be forced to intensify the agitation, including demonstrations in the constituencies of the Finance Minister and the Chief Minister. 




THE city’s top political personality, the Mayor, has been a daily witness to a public illusion of being the most powerful man without any rights.

The Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, every day meets somebody seeking her help for everything a person expects from the Chief Minister of a state and the people don’t believe Ms Joshi’s words about her limitations of powers.

A person recently brought an inflated power bill to get it rectified.

He did not believe the Mayor when she said that this matter did not fall in her jurisdiction and she could only help by paying the amount from her own pocket. The Mayor had a hearty laugh when the person said. “Aap to sarkar hein.”

The Mayor of the city, second only to the Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator in the hierarchy as per protocol, has merely been a symbolic post.

The city Mayor was thrilled at Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s call for the Mayor-in-Council system in Lucknow in January this year.

Her predecessors had been demanding the right to write confidential reports of officers to make the system accountable.

Is Parliament understanding the untold misery of the Mayor as only it is competent to bring amendment to the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976 (extended to Chandigarh) for strengthening democracy in the city?

On sale

The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, in dire financial straits and largely dependent on sale of property to boost its revenue, has set a permanent wooden platform for auctions in its campus.

The corporation thought it wise to set up the platform as its hopes of bailing it out had been tied to the sale of property whenever it required major chunk of money.

Even the budget of the corporation makes the sale of the property the biggest revenue earner with the city only recently removing the tag of the only place in the world without property tax.

The corporation, however, has not reportedly bought the benches to make the platform but has perhaps rented them.

The platform is certainly serving the visitors to the corporation who find a place under the tree to sit on them under a shadow but it has reduced the place for the parking of vehicles.

Animal kingdom

The Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, has miserably failed to check stray cattle menace on the city roads. The cattle, say police sources, are responsible for numerous minor and many major accidents on the city roads. They also cause damage to the public gardens.

On Wednesday last, The Tribune team witnessed yet another hazard of stray cattle. Two full grown bulls went berserk and locked horns in the crowded Mauli Jagran Colony here (see picture above). The rehri-phariwalas had to run for cover to save their lives and property. The entire market area turned into a bullfight arena, where hundreds of people, mostly children, surrounded the arena and kept watching the bullfight. The show went on for more than 30 minutes.

When the bulls did not give up fighting, some of the shopkeepers shooed them away.

Think before FIR

An official residing at Pinjore had to undergo a harrowing experience recently, when he decided to register an FIR after the stepney of his brand new scooter was stolen.

Some well-wishers advised him to get an FIR registered to get a claim from the insurance company. After much cajoling, he succeeded in getting his FIR registered though the insurance company declined to make payments citing rules.

He was shocked when after about six months, he was called to the police station to recognise his stepney out of hundreds of old and mutilated stepnies. Unable to do so, he was asked to sign some papers.

After a few days he was issued summons to appear in court to give a false witness that he had seen a thief while stealing. He decided to tell the whole truth to the judge in private and vowed never to insist on registering an FIR in such cases.

Ready for less pay

The HMT Tractors and HMT Machine Tools, Pinjore, are passing through a critical phase these days, as the government has declined to inject any additional funds to revive the units. More than 3000 workers are facing an uncertain future.

Most of them are aware that private factories are surviving because of lower wage bill. But they are unable to do anything despite their willingness. A section of the employees has even offered to work at lower wages provided they are assured about their jobs. However, the management says that it is not possible under the present rules.




Road divider or death trap?
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, July 14
A road divider without any light reflector fixed on them on the busy Chandigarh-Ambala highway has become a virtual death trap for the past couple of months.

Thanks to the Building and Roads wing of the Punjab Public Works Department (PPWD) for turning a blind eye towards the “obstacles” leaving the victims to their own fate.

Vehicles moving from Ambala side often ram into the divider putting lives of travellers in danger. Over two dozen motorists have met with accidents at this particular spot in the past three months.

The story is similar at other road dividers constructed by the PPWD on the Chandigarh-Ambala and the Zirakpur-Patiala highways Absence of reflectors on the dividers and the defunct and missing streetlights have further aggravated the problem.

Though the rate of road accidents at these ‘‘killer’’ spots, in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru, have shown a sharp increase in the past yet the authorities have hardly taken any initiative to find out a concrete solution of the problem.

The authorities have neither installed any big reflectors and floodlights to make the dividers visible for the motorists from a distance nor have put any identification mark in front of the dividers to warn the motorists.

A reflector erected with the help of a string on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway about 1 km ahead of the traffic light point at Zirakpur is an interesting example reflecting the sheer negligence of the PPWD.

‘‘This point had virtually turned into a death trap for a long time and we had to put up a reflector, which had been broken in an accident, with the help of a string so that it could be visible for the motorists,’’ said Mr Narinder Sharma, a former sarpanch of Lohgarh village.

The PPWD authorities were not available for comments.



IGP for people-friendly functioning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
The Chandigarh police is resolved to give the citizens an efficient, law abiding and responsive law enforcement machinery, maintains the Chandigarh IGP, Mr Bhim Sain Bassi.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Bassi said apart from open registration of cases, the focus was on prevention of crime in society through a transparent and a people-friendly of functioning. The aims and objectives of the police have been clearly spelled out in a recently released citizen’s charter.

Adding, the IGP said setting up of the women and child support unit cell was aimed at protecting the rights of the women and children. Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act , 2000, the police follows the procedure for rehabilitation and social reintegration of children. The unit had been set up in view of the growing incidents of harassment of women. The cell was headed by the Superintendent of Police ( Operations). In the past six months, the special cell had witnessed an increase of about 50 per cent in the number of complaints.

After the setting up of the special cell, a number of cases relating to child prostitution, child abuse and sexual assault had been received there. A round-the-clock toll-free telephone line had been installed at the women and child support unit to provide assistance to women and children in distress.

Mr Bassi said through the citizens charter, an effort had been made to educate people about their duties and rights. Citing an example, he said if a complaint discloses commission of a non-cognisable offence, the police could not suo motu proceed with investigation and a only a competent court was authorised to investigate.

In the free legal-aid cell of the Chandigarh Police, assistance was being provided to members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, a victim of trafficking in human beings, a woman or a child or a person in custody in a protective home. The IGP said powers exercised by the police under various sections of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) had been clearly listed out in the charter. Through the citizen’s charter, an effort had been made to inform the citizens about a number of people-friendly initiatives like assistance to victims of road accidents, supply of a copy of FIR by post and redressing of public grievances through crime stopper cell and community participation in policing.

For those violating the traffic rules and various provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, the first time fine and the fine for subsequent offences had been clearly mentioned, added the IGP.



Complaints galore at UHBVN darbar
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 14
Residents of the township expressed their anger against deficiency in services of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) today. They were participating in a “khula darbar” organised by the department at Sector 20 Community Centre.

They complained of erratic power supply and frequent fluctuations in voltage. Complaints of employees demanding bribe from residents were also received in the interface, which was chaired by the Superintending Engineer, Mr C.L. Adlakha.

Mr Shiv Kumar, a resident of Kalka, complained to the officials that he had been falsely implicated in a case of tampering with the meter installed at his residence by a junior engineer last year, when he did not comply with the latter’s demands for a bribe of Rs 3000.

He said the SDM, Kalka, Mr Sushil Sarwan, had then investigated into the matter and reportedly found him innocent. “Since the incident in August last year, the meter at my residence has not been functioning. But now I have received a bill of Rs 19, 600”, he said.

The officials of the nigam promised to look into his complaint.

Residents of Sector 20 complained that the power supply got disrupted for three to four hours each night. Mr Virender Chopra, president of the Group Housing Society 91, said the problem in the area could be solved with the commissioning of an 11 kv transformer in the area.

A number of residents of group housing societies also complained that they were forced to install their own transformers and made to pay 26.5 per cent of the operational maintenance charges.

They said these charges were applicable only in case when the occupancy was less than 90 per cent, whereas occupancy was more than 100 per cent in most of the societies.

They also complained that the housing societies were being charged commercial rates for power supply to parking areas in the societies.



Yogic secret’s day out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Yogi Vinodanand performed rare feats of ‘vajrolli’ and ‘khechri’ ‘kriyas’ here today to create awareness on how to enhance “physical pleasure”. The yogi claims that he is the only person in the world to have perfected ‘vajrolli’ (through which he lit a lamp) and Khechri (which helps a person attain biological hibernation for long life). These ‘kriyas’ are believed to have become extinct.

Today was the first day of a month-long free yoga camp that he is conducting in the Sector-29 Baba Balak Nath Temple. He lighted an earthen lamp with his urine before a select group chosen from the gathering. He says that he wants to transfer to masses the knowledge of yogic ‘kriyas’ mastered by celibate yogis for a consummate sex life.

The yogi said, through ‘vajrolli kriya’, a practitioner could suck in semi-liquids and liquids through urinary and reproductive tracts. Mustard oil sucked this way was in the urine through which he lit the lamp. He said: “I have demonstrated this technique to show that reproductive system can be controlled to enhance the duration of sex. This can be done by having a total control over glands.”

The yogi said unhappy sex life was the reason why about 80 per cent of Indians remained depressed. “It was so because they considered talking about this creative force of life a taboo,” he says. He said he invited scientists, doctors, philosophers and intellectuals to test his claims.

According to him, ‘vajrolli kriya’ makes the body experience catharsis through the sucking process and strengthens antibodies.

If one perfects ‘khechri kriya’, one can live even for 500 years. He said he invited doctors to conduct medical tests on him when he was performing the ‘kriya’. Through this, he can increase his weight by 5 kg without eating or drinking anything for 20 days. Yoga and ‘tantra’ can reduce human woes by preparing a human being for a spiritual sojourn by bringing about an equilibrium between the body and the mind.

He demonstrated yoga techniques for controlling pregnancy and gynaecological problems, reducing weight and curing ailments. “If some exponents of these ‘kriyas’ still exist, I urge them to help the sexually misinformed masses and not let this traditional knowledge be retained by only a few.”



Replace’ English as official language
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 14
A Punjabi bhasa suraksha sammelan organised by the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Prayag, concluded at Punjab Kala Bhavan here today. After two-day deliberations to save the Punjabi language from crisis, the delegation passed a few resolutions which they later submitted to the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr Y.S. Ratra, in the form of a memorandum.

The resolutions demanded constitution of a national level front to fight for the interests of the regional language. The delegation also made an appeal to the Central Government for the removal of the English language from the primary level schools.

Making an appeal to the Siromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Chief Khalsa Dewan and the Guru Nanak Foundation to establish model schools with the Punjabi medium, participants of the sammelan also appealed to the government to implement some kind of rule to check the haphazard growth of educational institutes.

They also appealed to the Central Government to replace English as the official language of the Chandigarh Administration.

The participants were addressed by Dr S. Tarsem, president, Kendriya Punjabi Lekhari Sabha, Mr Sridhar Shastri, Ms Harjinder Kaur, president, Punjabi and Punjab Vikas Manch, Dr Bipin Behari Thakur, former Dean of Mithila University.



Musical morning walk
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Morning walk turned healing, rhythmic, serene and sublime as strides matched ragas creating different moods, here today.

The proven faculties of music to cure people and create positive energy through a mood were tried by the Chandigarh Administration by organising ‘’Moods in Morning Ragas’’ at Shanti Kunj in Sector 16.

The guitar play by the disciple of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Subhash Goel, tabla by Mehmood Khan, flute by Vevel Sharma and tanpura by Manish Kumar created a symphony.

The music was seen to be pushing walkers into meditational postures while listening to Rag Bibhas, Rag Bairagi, Bhairavi and bhajan. ‘’Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’’ touched the subliminal chord in the walkers.



Plot to kill city resident exposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
In the process of investigating the angle of contract killing of Subash Chawla, a trader of Sector 26, the Chandigarh police has got a vital information about an attempt made by a Bathinda based gang to kill a resident of Sector 19, living adjacent to the house of a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP).

According to the information, the Bathinda police, in a communique to the Chandigarh police, said they had arrested members of a gang involved in contract killings. The gang members had taken money from a Bathinda-based doctor, Harvinder Singh, to kill the husband of his sister-in-law living in Chandigarh. The doctor is said to be absconding.

The Bathinda police had arrested five members of a gang involved in contract killings a few days ago. Two members of the gang, Harvinder and Suresh, had visited the area where the target was living but did not dare to accomplish their mission due to presence of security guards outside the house of the DSP. A police official said the Bathinda-based doctor suspected that his wife had relations with the husband of his sister-in-law. A team of the CIA wing of the Chandigarh Police also visited Bathinda in this regard.



Aged woman electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 14
Celebrations turned into tragedy at the Sector 16 residence of the Paliwals late last night, when 60- year-old Daya Paliwal was electrocuted during a kirtan ceremony.

The incident took place around 10. 30 pm when the victim was cleaning the floor with water after dinner was laid for guests. Police sources say that she was electrocuted when a loose electric wire got wet. She was reportedly rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6, where she was declared brought dead.

Road accidents
Surindra was killed in an accident near Nanakpur bus stand last evening when his scooter (HP-12-5632) was hit by a truck (HP-12-2844). The truck driver reportedly ran away from the spot. A case under sections 279 and 304-A, IPC has been registered.

In another incident in Sultanpur, a 14-year-old boy, Lucky, was injured after he was hit by a motor cycle (HR-03-5357). The accused driver, Jasbir Singh, has been booked under Sections 279, 337 and 338 of the IPC.

Lakhwinder Singh and Anil Kumar were injured when their motor cycle (HR-03D-6860) was hit by a Haryana Roadways bus near Haripur village. The bus driver, Naresh Kumar, fledaway from the spot.

One arrested
The police has arrested Indra Bahadur from Dabkauri village and seized seven bottles of country liquor from him. He has been booked under different sections of the Excise Act.


Theft case
A case of theft was reported in the Mani Majra Housing Complex yesterday. A retired Chief Engineer, Mr K.N. Dutt, a resident of 5429, Category I, said thieves broke open his garage during the day and decamped with two LPG cylinders and other material. A case has been registered at the mani Majra police station.

In another case, thieves broke open the garage of another resident, Mrs Singal, and took away household goods.

A resident of Jayanti Majri in Ropar, Tarsem Lal, was injured when he was allegedly assaulted by Sonu, a photographer, at Khuda Lahora. The victim was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16. A case under Sections 325 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.



Shots fired
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 14
Two youths opened fire in Bay 64 of Phase IX here late yesterday with an intention to rob it, according to police sources.

The youths entered a building-material shop, Sandhu Sanitary Enterprises, and stayed till the other customers had left, after which, one of the two asked the shop owner to hand over the cash. The owner resisted and had a scuffle with them, during which, one of the youths took out a gun, fired shots and fled from there.

Nobody got injured in the incident and an investigation is on.


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