Sunday, October 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


NRIs keen on investing in residential colony
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 26
If the proposed ultra-modern and fully developed urban estate for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), aimed at serving as a base in the city becomes a reality in near future, the state of Punjab is likely to invite an investment ranging between $ 300 to $ 400m in various sectors like real estate, information technology and healthcare.

This was stated by Mr Lukhbir S. Gill, chairman, and Mr Vikram J.S. Bajwa, chairman and secretary, respectively, of the Punjab NRI Entrepreneurs, who led a group of around 35 NRIs to the city today to explore the possibility of setting up a residential colony for the NRIs who were keen to make investment in Punjab in different sectors.

The visiting group of NRIs had detailed interaction with senior officials including Deputy Commissioner Anurag Aggarwal and Additional Chief Administrator (ACA) of PUDA Rahul Bhandari, to have an idea on the availability of a big chunk of land on the periphery of the city for the proposed new urban estate.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Gill admitted that the NRIs desirous of making significant investment in Punjab wanted to make a base near Chandigarh because it was the seat of the government. But Ludhiana city, with the kind of infrastructure it had and what was to come up in near future, held good prospects for the housing facility for the NRIs. He said the visit of the group was the culmination of a process initiated during the visit of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to the USA sometime ago. “The government at the helm in the state at the moment has a positive attitude and the prospects of the endeavour by the NRIs to materialise are very bright.”

According to Mr Gill, the group of NRIs, comprising business persons from the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany and the UK had arrived in Delhi on October 21 where they had met former Finance Minister Mr Manmohan Singh, Leader of the Opposition, Ms Sonia Gandhi, before proceeding to Chandigarh to have detailed discussion with Captain Amarinder Singh. Although he did not criticise the previous SAD-BJP government in the state openly, he confided that earlier attempts by the NRIs to forge economic bonds with Punjab had met with apathy and indifference by the earlier government, and a sizeable number of NRIs had chosen to make investment in Chandra Babu Naidu’s Andhra Pradesh.

Earlier, interacting with the visiting NRIs, the PUDA ACA, Mr Rahul Bhandari, and other officials showed the site maps of possible locations for the residential colony, proposed to be spread over a sprawling 300 to 400 acres. Mr Bhandari said PUDA could provide needed land on two sites on the Ferozepore road, one each on the Pakhowal road, near Sidhwan Canal, on southern bypass, Dhandra Road and Dugri Phase II and III. The Divisional Town Planner, Mr H.S. Dhillon, broadly explained modalities for setting up a residential colony which would have provisions for commercial and institutional areas as well.

While dispelling various apprehensions and misgivings of the visiting group, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, said that a lot of activity was taking place in the city by way of strengthening infrastructural facilities. “A number of flyovers are under construction, which will improve the traffic conditions and ease vehicular movement. A lot many steps are being taken to combat pollution and strict measures are being taken to regulate parking of vehicles in busy commercial areas.”

He further said that the Union Government had agreed in principle to allow civilian air traffic at the Air Force Station, Halwara, which was about 20 km from the city. The government could be persuaded to provide necessary funds for passenger handling facilities and commercial flights could commence soon to link the city with the outside world. 


Statue of Indo-Pak war martyr unveiled finally
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Latala (Ludhiana), October 26
Justice was finally done to a martyr who laid down his life in the 1965 Indo-Pak war when his statue was unveiled by officers of his regiment here today.

It was a day of reckoning for 81-year-old Surinder Kaur, mother of Martyr Captain Ravinder Singh, who had been pressing with her demand for getting his statue unveiled by officers of his regiment only.

Today officers from the 18th Cavalry Regiment, in which her son served before sacrificing his life during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, garlanded the statve of the martyr erected by his mother in the village.

It was a nostalgic function for the villagers and a large gathering of the area residents. While old colleagues and seniors of the martyr remembered his bravery, Latala residents and relatives revealed the fine points of his personality. The glory of the moment reached its height when veterans reminisced the exploits of the regiment while almost capturing Sialkot town in Pakistan.

Surinder Kaur, in one of the most unusual moves, had kept the statue covered all these months waiting for the regiment personnel to unveil it with full military honours.

Today, the last of her long-standing dream was realised. Thirtyseven years after the martyrdom of her son, a village school, was named after the martyr. The girls’ school has\been christened Shaheed Capt. Ravinder Singh Memorial Government Middle School.

Col. Jaideep Singh, CO, 18 Cavalry, performed the unveiling ceremony and laid a wreath on the statue. Lt. Gen (retd.) G.S. Kler, Brigadier (retd.) S.M. Khosla, Lt. Col. (retd.) Gurbhej Singh Gill and Lt. Col. (retd) H.S. Sangha, all veterans of the regiment, who witnessed Capt. Ravinder Singh in action, graced the occasion. Wing Commander (retd.) M.S. Randhawa, Dy. Director, District Sainik Welfare Board, represented the district administration on the occasion.

The Tribune had highlighted the plight of the martyr’s mother a number of times.

The old-timers said on September 9, 1965, ‘A’ Squadron, 18 Cavalry, was operating in the captured areas of Sialkot and was ordered to advance once again to Ura Bridge in order to force the Pakistani army to divert some of their armour and facilitate the operations of two other squadrons. A squadron, under the command of Capt. Ravinder Singh, commenced advance at 9 AM with eight tanks and a coy of 2 /1 GR.

The advance in conjuction with the marching infantry was slow. At about 10 am about a platoon’s worth of Pakistan infantry was encountered at Rasulpur. The Pakistanis’ withdrew as soon as the Indian tanks opened fire on them. An enemy air observation post began to direct medium artillery fire on the Indian tanks, which were in some difficulty because they could not get off road, owing to the flooded paddy fields. The tanks took cover under roadside trees and escaped damage. No attempt was made to advance any further.

Capt. Ravinder Singh’s tank got bogged down on the side of the road. In the face of enemy artillery shelling and unmindful of his personal safety he dismounted to supervise its recovery while he left his crew in the safety of the tank. He was hit by shrapnel and died on the spot. Seeing their officer fall, Sowar Raghubir Singh, from his tank crew, went to his help and was seriously wounded. Sowar Megh Raj, the squadron commander’s driver dismounted and attended to the wounded. Capt. Ravinder Singh’s tank was recovered with the help of an Advanced Recovery Vehicle.

The death of Capt. Ravinder Singh was a serious loss to the regiment. He was a popular, brave and fearless officer. Apart from holding the appointment of Squadron 21 C, he was also commanding a tank troop. On every occasion he would plead with his squadron commander to let his troop take the lead. Within his troop he was always in the leading tank. After the gun traversing gear on his tank broke, he mounted a machine gun on top of the turret. He was always willing to take risks beyond the call of duty and thus sacrificed his life for the sake of his country and good name of the regiment.

This inscription has been put in his loving memory by his sisters Gurdeep Kaur, Harparkash Kaur and Jasbir Kaur, in the hope that his life and supreme will serve as an inspiration for the coming generations.Back


MC strengthens fire services in city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 26
With the addition of seven new fire tenders, which were formally dedicated to the Municipal Fire Services by Choudhry Jagjit Singh, Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, here on Wednesday, the municipal fire brigade in the city received a shot in the arm and can rightfully claim to be fully equipped and competent to cope with any untoward incident of fire and natural calamities.

The MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, claimed that with latest technology and fire fighting apparatus added to its fleet the civic body in the mega city had become the first corporation in the entire north region which was fully capable of fighting all kinds of fire. Some of the latest equipment, provided to the fire brigade here was not even available with the fire services in Delhi. With a fleet of 33 fire tenders, the men and machines of local fire brigade could effectively deal with the fire, caused by any number of factors like electrical short circuit, gas, petrol, chemicals, fire crackers or any other synthetic material. In comparison, the towns of Amritsar and Jalandhar, which have almost the same geographical area, have 22 and 18 numbers of fire tender, respectively, while the Patiala MC had just four fire tenders.

Mr Sharma said the MC had recently purchased a ‘Rescue Tender’ which was fitted with a generator, electric cutter, breathing apparatus and other necessary aids to meet with all kind of emergencies including fire, major accidents and other natural calamities such as earth quake. “The safety of the life and property of the city residents is on top of the agenda of civic administration and we are committed to provide the best fire services not only to the city but to other neibouring towns as well, if needed.” Besides incurring an expenditure of Rs 50 lakh for the seven new fire tenders, the MC had earmarked an amount of Rs 3 crore for upgradation, strengthening and improvement of fire services.

He said in accordance with the advice of fire experts, the MC had undertaken work for construction of five additional fire stations in the city to cut down response time and the new stations were likely to become functional within next two months. The sites for the new stations were identified after indepth survey of all the areas and ultimately it was decided to set up additional fire stations in the ‘accident prone’ areas of the city. The new fire stations in different parts of the city would be in addition to four fully operational fire stations at Mata Rani Chowk, Miller Ganj, Focal Point and Samrala road. All the fire stations have been provided with additional lines to emergency telephone numbers to avoid any delay in calling in case of fire or accident.

In the wake of forthcoming festivals like Divali, Mr Sharma made a fervent appeal to the city residents to observe utmost care and restraint while using crackers and fire works. Although, the MC had taken preventive steps like prohibition on sale and storage of crackers in the congested city localities and burning of crackers in silent zones, the cooperation of the people was necessary to achieve the desired objective. 


Trader robbed of car, cash
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, October 26
Four miscreants made good their escape after snatching a Maruti car and Rs 3 lakh from a local trader on Thursday night.

According to Mr A.S. Rai, Senior Superintendent of Police at Sangrur, Mr Bhavishan, a local trader, had returned home after collecting the cash from his dealers in the area. When his driver stopped the car in front of the residence of the trader, the miscreants dragged him from his car.

When he tried to resist, he was hit on the head by some weapon, which made him fall on ground. In the meantime, the miscreants fled in his car.

The miscreants had reportedly come in a Maruti car and were waiting for the trader to arrive at his residence. While two of the robbers fled in the traders’ car the other two followed them.

The police has registered an FIR.


From pillar to post for getting case registered
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
A Punjab police Inspector, posted as SHO at a Ludhiana police station, had a first hand experience of how difficult it was for the common man to get his complaint registered, what to talk of action taken on it.

For the last three days, the cop is virtually running from pillar to post in Chandigarh to get a case registered against a constable of Chandigarh traffic police, who made obnoxious calls at the Inspector’s house in Naya Gaon near the Union Territory, misbehaved with his wife and even threatened the cop.

The alleged incident took place on the night of October 23. However, even though the cop succeeded in identifying the accused within minutes on the basis of the caller-ID facility on his phone and later enquired from the Chandigarh police, no case has been registered so far.

Officials of the Sector 29, Industrial Area, where the accused constable’s office was situated, only admitted a DDR No. 47 dated Oct-24 but referred it to Naya Gaon police, saying the case would be registered there as the cop’s house falls in that area. Naya Gaon is manned by Punjab Police but they were also allegedly dilly-dallying on registering the case saying it should be handled by the Industrial Area police.

Narrating his harassment, the Inspector told Ludhiana Tribune here today that he had gone to his house in Naya Gaon and was shocked to learn that some person was making obnoxious calls and misbehaving with the female family members. He said that night also, the man called again and misbehaved with his wife. He took the phone to inquire who the man was but was abused and threatened. He said he got the number of the caller due to caller-ID facility. The number — 651983 — was of Chandigarh Traffic police lines. He called back immediately to find that constable Varinder Singh was on duty there.

He contacted senior officers of Chandigarh traffic police, who confirmed that the constable was on duty there. He then went to Industrial Area police station to lodge a complaint but received a cold-shoulder response. Meanwhile, the constable, who came to know about the complaint, started apologising to the police Inspector. The cop, however, maintained his stand to get him booked as he was allegedly harassing other people also.

The police referred his complaint to Naya Gaon police saying they should register the case as the police Inspector’s house was located there. The Naya Gaon police also refused to oblige saying the call was made from Industrial Area and the case should be registered there.

The police Inspector said he was trying hard for the last three days to get some action against the constable but to no avail. He said no disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against the constable. He said if this was the treatment given to a police officer, he wondered what was the plight of a common man.


Sukhdev memorial! still a long way to go
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
Four months after the district administration had claimed that Sukhdev Memorial would finally see the daylight, the ancestral house of the martyr in Nau Ghara in Chaura Bazar is crying for attention.

In June this year, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, had claimed that the ancestral house of Sukhdev, who was executed along with Bhagat Singh and Rajguru, would finally be preserved as a memorial but the work on the memorial has not started and the family that was staying in the house continues to be there .

The DC had claimed that an industrialist, Mr O.P. Munjal had accepted to shoulder the responsibility of providing residential accommodation to the family staying in the house for years due to which the work on the memorial had not taken off for the past three years. He had said that it was the only hiccup in setting up the memorial.

But four months on, the family continues to occupy the dilapidated house. The situation makes the mockery of the claims of the government of giving due respect to the national heroes. The issue of the house is hanging fire since the regime of the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had once directed the former Deputy Commissioner to look into the matter and preserve the house.

Mr Ashok Thapar, a relative of Sukhdev, while talking to the TNS said the issue of getting the house evicted had virtually come to a standstill as the family had refused to vacate the house. He said top officials of the administration had been visiting the site every now and then but no action had beeb taken.

He said certain officials had even showed their unwillingness to preserve the house stating there was no parking space in the area. He said that one of the officials had even told them to get the house vacated. Mr Thapar said it had become a difficult task now as the DC’s promise had made the occupants expect more from them.

Sukhdev was born in the Chaura Bazar area called Nau Ghara (nine houses) in the city. While the house remained unknown to anybody till three years ago, a trust, Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust (SSTMT), was set up to look after the historical place and to create awareness among people about the martyr. The Thapars and the district administration had then decided to set a memorial at the birth place of the great hero of the freedom struggle. His ancestral house was occupied by a 50-year- old widow, Saroj, and her two children. The idea of setting up the memorial had suffered a jolt because they did not want to move out due to poverty.

But the Thapars found a suitable place to rehabilitate her. Mr Thapar claimed that they paid her Rs 50,000 for shifting to the new place, but the matter came to a standstill after the woman died. He said they had promised her an amount of Rs 1.25 lakh and the first installment was paid to them.

Mr Raju, the occupant of the house, however, claimed that he was not paid a single penny by the trust. He said he had no knowledge about the money, while the Thapars claimed that the money was paid to the brother-in-law of Raju, as directed by Saroj. The Thapars said his brother-in-law had even purchased a piece of land with the money. 


Bank staff oppose privatisation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
The Punjab Bank Employees Federation, an affiliate of the All India Bank Employees, has criticised the proposed move of the Government of India to saturate state holdings in nationalised banks. They said it would ruin the economy of the country as privatisation might not take care of the social obligations of the banks.

The bank employees criticised the proposal of the Standing Committee on Finance set up by Parliament under the chairmanship of Mr Janardhan Reddy, which suggested bringing down government’s stakes in the public sector banks to only 33 per cent. They apprehended that the bill amending the Banking Companies Act was likely to be introduced in Parliament in the next winter session.

The employees said they had already met the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, and Mr Reddy and opposed the privatisation move. They had also suggested steps to strengthen the public sector banks as these were nation building institutions.

The employees pointed out that the real problem being faced by the banking industry was the alarming rate of increase in bad loans and the non-performing assets. They disclosed that the NPA accounts of over Rs 1 crore had already touched a whopping Rs 80,246 crore and the amount was lying pending with only 12,090 big borrowers. The employees said just 72 big borrowers had defaulted Rs 15,560 crore. They pointed out that the government was doing nothing to recover the amount and instead was trying to sell the banks’ equity to private hands, which could result in these banks going into the hands of defaulters.

The employees reiterated their apprehension that the aim of private sector banks was only to make profits. The public sector banks had been undertaking social banking as a major responsibility by opening up a number of rural branches and extending credit facility to all people. Private banks, they warned, would never do the same, which would not be in the interest of the Indian economy, particularly the agriculture and rural development sectors.


No trace of missing youths
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
Almost a week has passed since the Ambala police allegedly picked up two brothers from the Durga Mata Mandir market under Division No. 5 police station here in connection with a fraud case registered against one of their relatives at Ambala, but no trace of the youths has been made so far.

Acting on a petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by the victims’ father, Mr Om Prakash Maini, a warrant officer raided the Padao police post and some other places in Ambala but the youths could not be traced.

The parents claimed that unofficially the Ambala police admitted that the youths were in its custody and was pressurising them for handing over the accused or compromising with the complainant. But officially they claimed that it had ‘no news’ about the youths. Interestingly, a Jeep (HR-01M-4707) with a red light, in which the youths were allegedly picked up, was seen in the police post.

Mr Maini said even the Ludhiana police was not helping them. He was trying hard all these days to contact senior officers, but no one was available. Mr H.S. Sidhu, SSP, when contacted, said he was not aware of the case and the police would not interfere as the Ambala police must have some basis for picking up the youths.

A police team from Ambala allegedly picked up Pankaj, 24, and his brother, Sachin, 21, from Ludhiana on October 21.

Mr Maini, a resident of Prem Nagar, Civil Lines, has filed a complaint in the Division No. 5 police station.


German woman, others to be honoured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
The Offset Printers Association will honour a German firm, a German woman and two local printers for their contribution towards the printing sector at the Gutenberg Festival to be organised here tomorrow. The festival is a tribute to the father of modern printing.

According to Mr Kamal Chopra, its general secretary, Ms Mariko Takagi will be honoured for producing the the most beautiful book in the world.

The book was adjudged best by the jury of Book Art Foundation out of 749 books from 31 countries at the book fair held in Leipzig recently.

The German firm, M/s Faber and Faber, will be honoured for producing the smallest book in the world. The book contains 26 coloured pages in a leather-bound volume and measures 2.4 mm by 2.9 mm. Others to be honoured include Mr Ashwani Arora and Mr Santokh Singh.


Roadways staff to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 26
Led by activists of Joint Action Committee, the employees of Punjab Roadways yesterday burnt an effigy of Principal Secretary, Department of Finance, Punjab, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, in protest against the non-acceptance of their demands and attempts to disband depots of Punjab Roadways. The protesting employees also resolved to intensify the agitation with gate rallies on November 7 and 12 followed by a two-hour strike on November 13.

Addressing the protesters on the occasion, the trade union leaders, including Mr Gurcharan Singh Dugga, convener, JAC, said the meeting of the representatives of employees with the Punjab Minister for Transport had proved inconclusive with the minister taking the stand that action on the pending demands of the employees would be taken on the basis of the report of the committee, already set up for this purpose. The speakers alleged that certain members of the committee themselves were transporters and were further plying buses without valid route permits all over the state.

Prominent among others who addressed the rally were Mr Nirmal Singh (SC/ST Employees Association), Mr Harjit Singh (CITU), Mr Sukhdev Singh Saddowal(Workshop Employees), Mr Gurcharan Singh (INTUC), Mr Manjit Singh Mansooran (AITUC) and Mr Prem Kumar (Mechanics Union).


Kribhco programme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
Krishak Bharti Cooperative Limited (Kribhco), a premier national-level cooperative organisation engaged in the production and marketing of urea, biofertilsers and seeds, organised an in-service training programme for salesmen of Krishak Bharti Sewa Kendras of Punjab and Haryana at Punjab Agricultural University here today. Mr V.N Rai, managing director of Kribhco, while talking on the occasion said that since the commercial production of urea from 1986, Kribhco had produced more than 26 million tons of urea and saved more than Rs 12000 crore of foreign exchange.

Dr P.K. Awasthi, marketing director, Kribhco, highlighted the marketing scenario of fertilisers in the country.


Aanganwari sangh demands
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 26
The Aanganwari Mahila and Sahayak Sangh, Ludhiana unit, has demanded implementation of announced 50 per cent increase in salary and regularisation of employees.

At a meeting held here yesterday, Ms Darshan Kaur, its president, said that a state-level convention of aanganwari workers would be held here on November 16, in which more than 300 workers are expected to take part.

The convention will be held at Vir Hakikat Rai School located on the Gaushala road. Ms Suchitra Mahapatar, Mr Kartar Singh Rathor and Ms Gita Tai Gokhle will take part, among others.


World Bank’s response on projects hailed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, MP, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha and Mr Surinder Dawar, both MLAs, have welcomed the response of the World Bank to consider the proposals of the state government for loans under various projects.

In a press note issued here today, they said: “To put the completely shattered economy back on rails someone had to show the courage to take strict financial reforms keeping in mind the ground realities”. They charged the previous government for pursuing the populist policies which had closed all doors to the development and all financial institutions had refused to even consider the representations of the Punjab Government for sanctioning of loans for development projects and welfare schemes.

They claimed that with the sanctioning of the loans by the World bank for execution of new projects relating to power generation, rural water supply and sanitation, urban infrastructure, sewerage and water supply in cities and sewerage treatment plants, a new era of development would be ushered in the state. 


Bank holds coin mela
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
Officials of Indian Bank, Clock Tower branch, today distributed new coins and currency notes worth Rs 11 lakh among shopkeepers and the general public today.

According to Mr S.P. Singh, Chief Manager, the camp was mooted by Mr D.P. Singh, AGM, circle head, Chandigarh, and supervised by Mr Harvinder Singh and other employees of the bank.

New wads of Rs 10, 20, 50 and 100 and coins of Re 1, Rs 2 and 5 denominations were distributed. Soiled currency was also exchanged.


Entrepreneurship development programme

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 26
“The government always looks for potential entrepreneurs and is ever ready for administrative support to check the growing unemployment in the country”. These were the views of Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, while speaking at a workshop on “Entrepreneurs development programme” organised by Desh Bhagat, an institute of management and computer sciences, here today.

Mr S.K. Chopra, acting Principal, Technical Teachers Training Institute, Chandigarh, presided over the workshop. Among others, present on the occasion were Prof Prem Kumar, Mr Danesh Partap Singh, ASP, Amloh, Mr S.N. Singh, Principal, Desh Bhagat Ayurvedic Medical College, Mr Baldev Singh Aulakh, Municipal Council chief, Amloh. Mr Roshan Lal Sood, a state awardee, was honoured in the function. OC


Science fair at school
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 26
A science fair was organised here at Atam Public Senior Secondary School, on the school premises today.

Different models exhibiting scientific findings prepared by the students attracted the attention of the viewers. Social evils like alcoholism, drug addiction, population explosion and smoking nuisance and atmospheric pollution were also highlighted on the occasion.

The Home Science Department had an exclusive stall on health and nutrition.

Students of Class XII medical group arranged for a particular stall highlighting heart-related problems along with tests for blood grouping and blood pressure etc.

The “Kiddies Corner” was the star attraction. Children of second, third and fourth standard displayed science experiments on various topics such as parts of plants, germination of seeds, air weight and the need for dental hygiene and traffic rules. Prizes were awarded to the winners of poster and collage-making competition. The message was “Yes to health and no to crackers; and wishing a happy Divali to all.”


B’ball tourney from October 28
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, October 26
The Ludhiana District Basketball Championship for men and women, junior girls and boys will be held at the basketball stadium of Guru Nanak Sports Complex from October 28 to November 1, according to Mr Teja Singh Dhaliwal, honorary secretary, Ludhiana District Basketball Association.

In the junior section, only school teams can participate. Last four matches in the senior as well as junior sections will be played on a round robin league basis.

Entries may be sent to Mr Vijay Chopra, organising secretary for the meet, Mr Dhaliwal informed.

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