Saturday, November 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Lawyers take on empowered Lok Adalats
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
The work in the Delhi High Court and the lower courts in the Capital came to a standstill as lawyers joined a one-day strike called by the Bar Council of India (BCI) against the recent Legal Services Amendment Act which increases the power of Lok Adalats.

The office bearers of the BCI and representatives of various bar associations also sat on hunger strike outside the High Court premises here today. They are protesting against the amendment to Section 22 of the original Act, which defines the power of Lok Adalat.

With the amendment, ‘Permanent Lok Adalats’ (PLA) have been created which have been empowered to dispose of matters relating to public utility services not exceeding a value of Rs 10 lakh. Besides six categories of public utility services enumerated in the Act, the Central and State Governments had the power to declare any other service as public utility. As things stand, all matters involving a public utility upto a value of Rs 10 lakh can be taken to the PLA and the power to increase this amount rests with the Government, the BCI said.

The Legal Services Authority (LSA) could bring about a settlement between the parties and in case a matter was not settled, the PLA could also decide the matter on merits on the basis of the principles of natural justice and such decision would be final. The Civil Procedure Code and the Evidence Act did not apply in the proceedings.

Unlike the CPC, which stipulates that arbitration could only be with the consent of the parties, under the new LSA Act, even without the consent of both the parties, one party could take the matter to the PLA and the other party had no choice but to follow. This was contrary to the very concept of mediation, conciliation and arbitration, the BCI said.

Once a person goes to the PLA, the other party had no right to invoke the jurisdiction of any other forum for adjudication of his dispute.

Thus the creation of PLA would virtually defeat the very purpose of the Consumer Protection Act. Motor accident claims, tried by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal till now, as also post & telegraph, telephone, power supply and insurance claims would go before the PLA, the BCI said.

A district judge or a person, who has held a judicial office higher than that of a district judge, was to be the Chairman of PLA. Two other persons having adequate experience in public utility service could also be nominated.

The provision of appointing non-officials to the PLA was opposed to the concept of the separation of judiciary and the executive, it added.

However, the BCI said the public should not get an impression that the Bar was opposing the constitution of the PLA. It opposes the amendment as it destroys the rule of law and the role of courts besides making the gullible litigants fall prey to middlemen and touts.



Casinos: Will Chautala’s gamble pay off?
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 8
Whether opening of casinos in Haryana will promote gambling and cause social upheavals is not known, but the issue has certainly raised the political temperature in the state.

All the opposition parties have taken a unanimous stand in coming out against the proposal. This will surely give some anxious moments to the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Government, if the opposition to the proposal snowballs into a large-scale agitation.

While the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has tried to justify the proposal, claiming that it would promote tourism and earn megabucks for the State, not many subscribe to this theory in the opposition ranks. A majority of them believe that it would jeopardise the interests of the society in general, as people would squander their earnings in legalised gambling dens.

Leader of the Opposition in the Haryana Assembly Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) chief Bhajan Lal have already voiced their dissent on the issue. Both the leaders have warned that the Congress Party would launch an agitation if the state government goes ahead with any such proposal. They have accused the Chautala government of resorting to gimmicks.

A former minister and HPCC spokesperson, Mr Krishan Murti Hooda, in his statement ridiculed the move, stating that the so-called pro-farmer government was least concerned about the shortage of power and water in rural areas. Instead, it was preoccupied with opening of casinos, which do not even find a mention in the INLD poll manifesto.

He said the three foreign tours of Mr Chautala, in quick succession, seemed to indicate where the state government’s interests lie. He said the government should instead focus on providing employment, education and basic amenities.

The BJP leaders at the Centre and in the state have also expressed their concern about the proposal. Prominent leaders of the party in Haryana have announced that they would resort to agitation, if the proposal was not spiked.

Union minister Vajay Goel, who was on a visit here recently, had expressed concern over the flourishing lottery business and said that he would ask the Haryana Government to shut down the gambling vends. Thousands of families had frittered away their savings in lotteries.



MDUTA wants re-look at all land deals 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, November 8
The Maharshi Dayanand University Teachers Association (MDUTA) has demanded repeal of all deals, which have resulted in MDU land passing into different hands. It also wants that the authorities should make public all facts and documents pertaining to deals under which either land has been acquired for the university or has been transferred to other parties.

The General Body Meeting of the MDUTA, held here today, has further appealed to the Haryana Governor and the Chancellor of the University to undo the misdeeds of the authorities.

The MDUT has decided to stage dharna in front of the Vice Chancellor’s office on November 22 to press for acceptance of its demands. The demands also include immediate revocation of the suspension of Prof Yajanveer Dahiya, Head of the Sanskrit Department and member, Executive Council, of the university.

The association has also sought immediate notification of election of teacher’s representatives to the University Court and the Executive Council. The association has also called for immediate release of overdue confirmations, promotions and other benefits.

Demanding an end to harassment of teachers, the association has called for time-bound resolution of pending issues through dialogue and implementation of the agreement reached between the MDUTA and the Vice Chancellor on December 3 last year.

The MDUTA has appealed to all sections of the public, people’s organisations and parties for support. The general body of the MDUTA has authorised its executive committee to decide the future course of action and explore the legal options.



Can’t the monkeys at Raisina Hill be banished 
to a preserve?
Cecil Victor

New Delhi, November 8
Today it is monkeys and their relocation away from crowded human habitation within the NCR and the elegant portals of Lutyen’s Central Secretariat that is the hot item in the debate on the Master Plan. Yet, experience has shown that not even judicial intervention has remedied the condition of animals in their interface with humans, not just in Delhi but other parts of the nation as well.

Take the case of circus animals. The lions and tigers that used to wow the crowds at the crack of a ringmaster’s whip now live in cramped cages unable to exercise their limbs or earn their daily bread. Zoos won’t take them and relocation to a designated sanctuary hundreds of miles away has not been very successful.

Some time ago stray dogs were the bone of contention till the onus was put on the complainant to ensure their upkeep in a dog pound. Now nobody complains. Sterilisation as a means of controlling their population is an unfulfilled pious thought because the municipalities and the non-government organisations do not have the wherewithal to handle the task. In the meantime the threat of rabies stalks the streets of Delhi.

Monkeys have intermittently been in the news over the past decade and as their numbers grow their antics in the corridors of power on Raisina Hill —where they ripped up files in the pending trays till the Government decided to install grills on the windows — has been just one of the irritants cited for their removal from the scene.

A recent attempt at trapping and relocating them in their hundreds has shown that plans to trap, cage, sterilise and disperse them away from human habitation has been found wanting. Several hundred of those caught in the first flush of this experiment have suffered unnecessary trauma at the Rajokri camp where the sterilisation was supposed to be conducted and drew sharp criticism for this unconscionable cruelty.

Mrs Menaka Gandhi of the People for Animals vetoes relocation altogether. If they are not hurting anybody why move them out, says she. Now that the seat of power in North and South Block has been wired up she has a point because troops of monkeys clamber about on the ramparts, forage on berries and, believe it or not, on the lawns of Lutyen’s landscape, without appearing to be a menace.

The suggestion that the 134 Ecological Battalion of the Territorial Army, which has been raised specifically to deal with habitat problems within the NCR and is doing a great job in reclaiming the ravaged Bhatti mines on the Delhi-Faridabad border, be asked to help relocate the several thousand monkeys that many believe are a menace to society has elicited the rejoinder that it will take up to eight years for the trees that are now being planted to bear fruit and sustain an animal population.

A forest inclusive of “junglee jalebee”, “bair” and “goolar” trees will sustain monkeys within its canopy but Bhatti has still not reached that stage of reclamation. But Asola, next door to Bhatti, has been a wildlife preserve for some time now and if it cannot sustain more monkeys within its sanctuary the time has arrived to look into how it is being managed.



Better turnout in JNU debate than in poll
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, November 8
The process of “de-politicisation of JNU students” continued as polling day witnessed another disappointing turnout. Only 60.16 per cent of Jawaharlal Nehru University students decided to exercise their “right to vote” today, while many made themselves scarce, much like the trend in the past few years. A total of 2,772 votes were polled, which clearly depicted the delinking and alienation of JNU students from the electoral process.

The post-lunch session provided much-needed respite to the electoral process, plagued by “calls of redundancy”, in the form of increased polling. The voter turnout at the end of the pre-lunch session bore ominous signs with polling standing at a dismal 25 per cent.

As many as 4,608 students decided the fate of 24 candidates in the running for Central Panel posts and 69 for the Councillor posts in various schools, over the course of the day. Voting began at 9:30 a.m. and concluded at 5:30 p.m. The counting of votes began at 9:30 p.m. and is expected to conclude by 10 a.m. tomorrow morning. The counting is being conducted in the School of International Studies (SIS), which will also serve as the venue for the declaration of results.

The general sentiment on the campus suggests another sweeping victory for the SFI/AISF alliance for the posts on the Central Panel with the only competition being for the post of Vice-President. A Left supporter confidently said, “We will continue with our dominance in JNU because we have vindicated the support of students with concrete results.”

Last year, the Left Unity had managed a complete sweep by acquiring the posts on the Central Panel as well as the posts of School Councillors. The electoral process has witnessed an unprecedented strengthening of security arrangements on the campus, expecting unruly incidents. Twenty guards of Group 4 Securitas – the agency in charge of campus security – have been on 24-hour vigilance since polling began and will remain so to prevent any untoward incidents, till results are declared tomorrow morning.

Apart from the security guards, two Quick Reaction teams of seven persons each have also been constituted to counter emergency situations. The teams have been on full alert and are also conducting surprise checks on the campus as a preventive measure.

Will it be another victory for the Left, which has dominated the JNU politics for long or will ABVP replicate the victory of DUSU elections on the JNU campus? Will NSUI’s bold efforts to garner support – by involving senior Congress leaders – prove effective or has their call on “secularist perspectives” not been heard by many? Is there a dark horse out there?



Metro security with Crime Branch
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs ordered that the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police would look after the security arrangement of Delhi Metro Rail.

According to police sources, a total of 188 officers and personnel will be deployed at various metro railway stations and other places so that passengers and railway staff can feel secure while travelling in the local trains. While the personnel and officers will wear police uniforms, they will have a badge of Metro Rail to be identified that they work for the Metro.

At present, sleuths of the Crime Branch are deployed at main railway stations of the Capital – old Delhi, New Delhi and Nizamuddin railway stations - to control security and law and order problems, while the protection of railway property is the responsibility of the Railway Police Force. But in the case of Metro Rail, both responsibilities have been given to the Delhi Police.

An Assistant Commissioner of Police will be in charge of the Metro Rail security. To make security arrangements and to control law and order at local railway stations, the Crime Branch will take the help of local police, traffic police and security officials of the Metro Rail. Sleuths of the Crime Branch will also be deployed in coaches of the local trains. Police assistant booths will be set up at all local railway stations. Besides, security cameras will also be installed at the stations. The Metro Railway Police will have its own police control room.

The authorities have also planned to provide training to railway police officers and personnel for the security of the Metro Rail and they will be given specific training in groups from tomorrow. Since Delhi is a very sensitive city, it has been the target of militants and other elements. The personnel will be imparted training of bomb disposal and to work in any emergency. While moving in local trains, they will be armed with sophisticated weapons, the sources said.



NDA faces ire for hustling Metro Bill
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
The Winter Session of Delhi Legislative Assembly beginning November 25 is likely to see the Treasury Benches targeting the BJP’s NDA Government at the Centre for “undemocratically” pushing through with the Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Bill 2002.

Transport Minister Ajay Maken on Friday said the Council of Ministers had suggested the Speaker summon the House for five days starting November 25 as members could deliberate the provisions of the contentious Bill through which the Centre was trying to usurp the rights of the popular, duly elected government.

“We will bring the narrow-mindedness of the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre and its double-speak before the people through democratic means,” he said. The minister clarified that the Government of NCT of Delhi would take suitable steps so that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is supplied electricity at a cheaper rate and the passenger tariff is kept at an optimum level.

Cong creating monopoly: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused the Congress-administered Government of NCT of Delhi of trying to create a monopoly for a private distributor of electricity and gift away crores of rupees to the company by insisting that Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES) be given the rights to supply electricity to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.



Haryana’s political scene is in the melting-pot
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, November 8
Faced with a multiplicity of socio-economic problems, almost all sections of people in Haryana find themselves in a hopeless situation because of the dismal political scenario emerging largely due to the near-bankrupt conduct of the mainstream political parties — whether ruling or in opposition..

The monster of severe drought, conveniently deemed as passed over, has left the population sulking unattended and unheard by those at the helm. It has multiplied their woes, resulting from widespread recession and unemployment.

Looking at the hectic schedule of rallies, one gets the impression that elections were round the corner. Similar impression can easily be taken if one goes by the plank of speeches appearing in the print media. The manner in which replacement of Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda by Mr Bhajan Lal as Pradesh Congress chief has been projected by the supporters of the latter gives impression that their leader would soon become the Chief Minister. Mr Bhajan Lal has after being appointed as party chief, addressed a series of felicitation functions at various places and is now holding rallies which are being opposed and boycotted by the deposed leader and his followers.

An obvious and simple question one can pose is: what are the issues that the leaders of the main opposition party are addressing today when the situation is fraught with serious challenges and the vitals of Haryana’s body politic are at stake. The common people hardly have any hope now from the present government which is blindly executing unpopular policy packages.

Because of the unprecedented drought, it is the farm sector which is hit hard, adversely affecting the farmers who remain the dominantly vocal social force which also forms the political support base of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

The second large section to bear the brunt happens to be the government employees and wage earners. They were up in arms against the Chautala government during the recent months because of the threat of being retrenched following the policies of downsizing and ‘rationalisation’.

Mobilised under the formidable Joint Action Committee of various employees organisations, fears of lakhs of state government employees can hardly be allayed despite the negotiations being held at the Chief Minister’s initiative. Thousands of MITC-retrenched workers are still waiting for relief and hundreds more are added to their ranks, thrown out of jobs in a single stroke by the Kurukshetra University authorities.

The promises by the opposition leaders that they would undo the ‘misdeeds’ of the Chautala government after coming to power are generally looked upon as ridiculous in view of the fact that the general elections are far away. The euphoria generated by the leadership change in the Pradesh Congress that Mr Bhajan Lal would soon pull down the Chautala government has also evaporated now.

The collective failure of opposition in the recently concluded two-day special session of the Vidhan Sabha has much to do in the political aspects than merely technical aspects as it looks to be. The dismal conduct of opposition leaders is largely responsible that even the ghastly Dalit lynching of Dulina were not taken up in the House with the seriousness this issue served and the dubious bill of Casino could be passed by brute misuse of the majority without any visible resistance put up by the opposition. It is a pity that the Chief Minister should satirically advise the opposition to learn their role from him.

“The negative plank of politics without issues and more personal glorification and stage-managed show of meaningless rallies can hardly enthuse the masses, disenchanted by the traditionally bankrupt politics,” says a political analyst in Maharshi Dayanand University.

The rallies being organised by the Pradesh Congress have no mass impact or significant realignment in terms of political polarisation and it is only the diehard power brokers of various parties who are active creating nothing new except the self-deception of their leaders, says another political commentator.

The Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) is taking advantage of the uncertainty due to the failure of the main opposition, the Congress. The party seems to be getting encouragement as its supremo, Mr Bansi Lal is heard seriously by the people. The section of the people, who have alienated from the ruling party, are now looking towards the HVP.

The Left parties, especially the CPM, is also trying hard to make its presence felt. But there seems to be no headway in the Haryana’s political scene in the immediate future at least. The situation continues to be fluid.



Three per cent quota for sportspersons
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 8
The Haryana Government has decided to reserve three per cent jobs in its departments for sportsmen. This is the thrust of its new sports policy. This was stated by Mr M S Malik, Director General of Police, Haryana, at a press conference in Khanpur Kalan Village, 30 km from here, yesterday.

The scheme is aimed at encouraging youths to take keen interest in sports activities and taking part in national and international meets. He disclosed that the police department has recently recruited sportsmen in accordance with the quota fixed for it by the government. The Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation, he said, would also recruit 15 sportsmen in the near future.

Mr Malik also disclosed that the state government has decided to raise the amount of pension from Rs. 200 to Rs. 2,000 per month for retired sportsmen in the state. It would also give financial assistance to the disabled sportsmen.

He further disclosed that the state government has drawn up a scheme for allotting LPG agencies and petrol pumps to retired sportsmen in the state. The state government, he said, has also increased the food allowance from Rs. 25 to Rs. 100 per day for sportsmen in the state. It has also enhanced the amount of prize money from Rs. 11,000 to Rs. 1 crore for sportsmen who win gold medals in international meets. The state government, he said, would provide fund 75 per cent expenditure of sportsmen who go abroad to take part in sports meets. The balance, he said, would be provided by various voluntary organisations.

Referring to the concessions given to the policemen by the state government, Mr Malik disclosed that they were being given promotions, increments and loans for their contribution in maintaining law and order.

He said that SPs have been directed to submit the files of such policemen, so that they can be extended such concessions on a priority basis.



Benami purchases of paddy hit govt coffers
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 8
The Haryana Government has lost a good deal of revenue on account of `benami’ purchases of paddy by certain traders and owners of rice shellers in the city and elsewhere in the district. According to a report, the racket has been thriving owing to the alleged collusion between the officials of the procurement agencies and unscrupulous traders and owners of rice shellers.

During the current paddy season, most of the traders had made direct purchases of paddy from growers and sold the bulk stock to the owners of rice shellers without entering it in their stock registers, thereby evading the market fee and the sales tax. Some officials of the procurement agencies are said to be involved in this racket.

It is alleged that the officials of some procurement agencies had reportedly allowed the traders to purchase the paddy marketed by the growers without showing it in their stock registers. Informed sources also say that some unscrupulous arhtias also adopted a new strategy to dupe the officials by showing less weight of the paddy marketed by the growers.

Officials sources have revealed that as many as 33,620 tonnes of paddy had arrived in the markets of the district.

These include 358 tonnes of common variety, 10,317 tonnes of A grade quality, 746 tonnes of Basmati variety, 7,669 tonnes of Sharbati variety and 14,530 tonnes of Muchhal variety. The bulk quantity of the paddy stock has been purchased by traders and owners of rice shellers. The Food and Supplies Department has purchased only 231 tonnes of paddy, the HAFED 231 tonnes, the FCI six tonnes, the Haryana Agro Industries Corporation 369 tonnes, and the Warehousing Corporation 493 tonnes only.



6,000 vacancies to be filled soon: Chautala
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, November 8
The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has exhorted the Indian National Lok Dal leaders and workers to strive for the fulfilment of the dream of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal regarding elevation of Haryana to an ideal state.

He was addressing the MPs, MLAs, members of state executive of the party, presidents of district and block units and party activists at the party office here on Thursday afternoon.

The Chief Minister said the state government had been encouraging foreign investors to set up industries here, which would provide job opportunities to unemployed youths in the region. He claimed that government jobs had been given purely on the merit basis and the government had prepared a list of 6,000 vacancies in various departments, which would soon be filled.

Mr Sher Singh Badshami, state president of the INLD, MPs, ministers, MLAs, members of the state executive and party workers were present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, the Haryana unit of the Janata Dal (United) condemned the third foreign visit of the Chief Minister in the name of promoting foreign investment in the state. In a statement here today, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, state president of the JD(U), alleged that the Chief Minister had been misinforming the masses by claiming that his foreign visits had paved the way for investment of Rs 3,000 crore in the state.

Mr Vidrohi demanded that the government should issue a white paper on the issue. He also criticised the casino Bill recently passed by the Assembly and threatened that the legal cell of the party would file a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court if the Bill was not withdrawn by the government in the public interest.



CII to set up recycling plant to help AIDS patients 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
In an effort to provide economic support to the people affected by HIV/AIDS, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Sahara Centre for Residential Care and Rehabilitation, an NGO, has decided to set up a wastepaper recycling plant.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed by the Indian Business Trust (IBT), a CII initiative, with the NGO. The agreement was signed at the women care home of Sahara at Neb Sarai. Corporate bigwig Gujarat Ambuja Cement has donated the entire amount of Rs 3.5 lakh for the 30 kg plant. Chairman of the company, Mr Suresh Neotia, presented a cheque to Sahara director Neville Selhore in this regard.

The working of the plant has been structured in such a way that it would recycle the wastepaper to be collected from the CII and from the offices of its member companies in the National Capital Region. The recycled paper would be used for making paper bags and stationery products.

The revenue generated through the venture would go towards care and support for people infected with HIV and AIDS, said the MoU. Of the profit earned, 10 per cent would be put aside by Sahara for expanding the business enterprise in future.

The IBT would monitor the setting up and commissioning of the plant. Sahara will provide feedback to the IBT on a monthly basis on the progress of the enterprise.



Speaking out


Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism? If so, please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked, Speaking out, NCR Tribune, First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

Practice of untouchability is indeed the greatest curse of the Indian society. It is an age-old stigma and the blot cannot be rubbed away even though we make great strides whether in industrialisation or science and technology or information revolution. In fact, our progress in these fields negates whatever success we claim to be making in the socio-economic uplift of our society.

This obnoxious practice of untouchability, particularly by the Hindu community against a big chunk of society keeps away many of the adversely affected members from the mainstream. We even do not want to extend even minimum the human dignity for the neglected members of our society. In order to find solace and search for the human dignity, some members from the depressed classes of the Hindu community try to embrace other religions.

Many questions are raised when we hear about conversion of Dalit Hindus to some other religions. Why do such incidents of religion conversion occur? Is it just because some oppressed people have lost faith in their particular form of God represented by a particular religion or is it because of the humiliation and physical and mental exploitation that are given by the so-called upper castes.

If we survey the religion conversion scene we can see, as mentioned above, that mostly the poor people or people of lower castes, known as Dalits, are going in for conversion. The main reason is that the lower castes suffer animal-like behaviour from the upper caste. Nobody is there to help these victims of the upper castes. Neither the Government comes to their rescue nor the upper caste people stop their exploitations. Social discrimination can easily be seen, but people following it are not afraid of the punishment because the law exists only in books. People from the upper caste are not punished because of their power of might. Those who call themselves Brahmins, if they study traditional Vedas and scriptures deeply and without prejudice, then they find that there is no religious sanctity at all behind the obnoxious practice of casteism. In fact, no concrete reference occurs about the practice of caste discrimination in the religious literature.

Not even in India but in the most advanced country like America people are the victims of colour discrimination. White Americans exploit black because Jesus Christ was white with blond hair and blue eyes. They have noticed Jesus’ outer appearance only but have totally forgotten the teachings of the Messiah which says that helping a human being is the true worship of God.

Back home in India, our Dalits in remote areas are not allowed to step into temples. They cannot use common wells. They are forced to live on the outskirts of the town.

Strangely enough, while Dalits are untouchables, the womenfolks from these communities become the victims of sexual exploitation by the males of so-called upper castes. The cases of physical violence against the Dalits are quite common. Recently five Dalits were lynched for skinning a dead cow at Jhajjar in Haryana.

Is the life of human beings so cheap? Even the police are allegedly involved in this unfortunate happening. And the government instead of taking action against the criminals is playing politics. In such pathetic scenario, it should not be a matter of surprise if the depressed members of the Hindu society are lured by other religions to convert.

Anti-conversion laws are not the solution to the problem.

The main solution is literacy. Because of ignorance of the members of the depressed classes, the so-called upper classes of the Hindu community exploit the former.

An impartial and dispassionate study of teachings of great saint like Swami Vivekananda would reveal that the so-called caste theory is the creation of so-called upper caste to exploit and rule over the deprived sections of the Hindu community. Giving it a cover of religious sanctity is merely a tool to capitalise on the ignorance of the weaker sections. The scriptures are interpreted keeping in view the age-old prejudices. But a dispassionate and scientific analysis does support the theory that one’s caste is not by birth but by one’s potentials, characters, temperament, attitude mental and physical abilities. If these weaker people are educated then only they will realise the truth.

They will come to know about their rights. Mere conversion to other religions is not the answer. Because if they are untouchable in one religion, they will remain untouchable in another one also because of their poverty and illiteracy. After all, every religion has its so-called upper caste. Education is the answer.

It is the duty of the leaders of the so-called lower classes to work sincerely for the uplift of their followers. Instead of using them as mere pawns of chess game of power politics, work hard for their emancipation by educating them in scientific way. Mere abusing the so-called upper castes will not work. Raise the level of knowledge of the depressed members to such heights where they can stand erect and hold their heads high, one to one with other members of society.

Shweta Kohli Shahdara, Delhi

Hell or heavenly home: Choice is yours, ye roadhogs!

A number of letters have appeared in the ‘NCR Tribune’ about the grim situation of city roads and the large number of pedestrians being killed in the accidents. In fact, the roads in metros and cities have become a nightmare. Someone has rightly observed: “It is you, the driver, who are causing the roads to become a nightmare. It is only you who can undo the damage. Think before you make a move. Think safety, drive safely.”

In the above context, I would like to share with the readers some useful tips about safe and accident-free driving:

  • Rash driving: Rash drivers break more than just rules.
  • Drunken driving: This can get you an entirely different set of wheels and will give you a lot of rest.
  • Farewell: What does the speeding motorist say to life? Farewell.
  • Deadend: When you jump traffic lights, you often meet a deadend.
  • Late: It is better to be late, Mr Motorist, than to be late Mr Motorist.
  • Helmet: Without a helmet, you could be a hell-mate.
  • Road indications: When you don’t follow the road indicators, you don’t leave a good impression behind.
  • Smoke: While driving, leave better things behind - not smoke.
  • Advice to pedestrians: “Aye Bhai Zara Dekh Ke Chalo. Aage he nahin peeche bhi.”

O P Sharma, Faridabad, Haryana

Check train tyres!

Just as the car wheels have tyres, the rail wheels too have tyres. These tyres have to be changed. But alas! The tyres that are being manufactured proved to be sub-standard.

Thus a little slip between the wheel and the tyre can imbalance the speeding train. Coupled with this, if the screws and fish plates are loose as was the case in the recent incident involving Shatabdi Express, it can play havoc.

The politicians and the administration are quick in blaming the terrorists, to offload their responsibility. The fact is that everybody is ready to talk and nobody is even ready to check.

M L Mukhi Kalkaji, New Delhi

Oh, grandma mia!

We were invited by The Summer Fields school on the Grandparents Day celebrated by them on September 21. The chants of dadaji-dadiji and nanaji-naniji rent the air. The atmosphere was surcharged with abounding love for the grandparents who must have been transported back to the years of their childhood.

We did feel that was the case with us. We were greeted with songs like ‘aur sab kuchh bhula dena, bhulana mat apne maa baap ko’ which accentuated in me the worry how and why the younger generation was unable to look after the needs of their parents and the grandparents when they were not active enough to meet their own requirements. Not attending to their needs can be one thing but neglecting them deliberately was quite another.

It was in this context that the holding of such functions to build bridges of continuity between the young and the old was sure to have a salutary effect.

The concept was novel which sought to stress the importance of the grandparents in shaping the personalities of the generations coming one after the other. The parents who go to work cannot devote enough time and attention to help their children develop good habits for the rest of their lives.

The atmosphere of love and affection brightened the ambience when the children vied with one another to introduce their dada-dadi or nana-nani to their friends and the scene brightened the lives of the grandparents.

On the other hand, the children were equally enthusiastic to acknowledge the fact that what their grandparents could dream for them was what their parents could not, partly for their lack of experience and partly for addressing their problems only – for their own pleasures than the balanced growth of their children by training them to face the world as they should.

We were reminded of our own school days in the thirties when, to start the day at school, the prayer period was compulsory and educative. Inspiring discourses were imparted which laid emphasis on the moral values and good manners to make a gentleman of the boys. They were prepared to face the good and bad days with courage and confidence. The in-thing, however, remained the virtues of character which guided all the actions. Respecting the elders was one principle of life which nobody dared to disregard.

Alas! Those were the days. Now, the people are guided more by the lure of lucre. As much of it as possible, not bothering whether it came by fair means or foul. It is this trend which has spoiled the game of life. Politics has further ruined our moral values.

While we sat in the audience, we were, reminded of school days. The teachers did every bit to ensure that the student in their charge first learnt the moral values which were followed by the studies.

Now, the parents who happen to be the children of ‘their’ parents think they were good for nothing and cannot deliver the goods. Our children think they can look after their children better than the so-called grandparents.

I have no hesitation in sharing an experience with you that while I myself am a trained teacher of 1960s, my son and daughter do not consult me concerning their children’s education. Though there is no regret. We feel happy that they were handling the situation independently there remains a hidden feeling in the subconscious mind for why they don’t like to cash in on our experience imparted to them free of cost. But I do feel that granting recognition to the grandparents’ role in the life of their grandchildren can and will play a positive role in making them useful citizens. The example to create an awareness to that effect must be followed by other educational institutions which will benefit the society at large immensely and turn the tide taking an about-turn.

The aged persons only need a symbolic word or action of love and care, and believe me, they will be ready to part with all they possessed. But unfortunately, that is a far cry. Recently a friend, Mr Sharma came to our house and narrated an incident of poor and disturbing behaviour of his son who demanded Rs 2 lakh from his father who had just a few days before given him more than Rs 10 lakh for buying a house. On telling his son that he did not have that much, he threatened him with dire consequences. He did not spare even his mother.

Needless to say that dada-dadis lend that heavenly touch in such situations. I am sure the guidance provided by grandparents will work wonders only to be envied by the mother and father of the child. We were taken back to our own school days when the day began with religious discourses stressing the role of character-building and treading a righteous path in life.

Those were the days when virtues like the moral values stood etched all over the heart and one feared God and desist from doing anything wrong to his fellow beings but now who cares for such goodies?

R L Pathak, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi

‘Virginity test’

There is no doubt that democracy is flourishing in India. But the local administration at all levels is unresponsive. Bureaucracy and police slowly react to the people’s sensitivities. That is why crimes are increasing, especially against women. The present moving story is related to two young girls of Assam, once called the North East Frontier Region of our country.

Of the two Assamese girls, one of the gutsy girls states in sensational disclosures that she was subjected to ‘a virginity test’ by a male doctor in the Nalbari Civil Hospital. That she was picked up from her home on the evening of September 13 by policemen, kept up at the Belsor police station the whole night and declared arrested the next morning.

Her lapse: she reported to the Nalbari Deputy Commissioner and local MLA Deka what a local daily carried — a series of defamatory items that she and one other girl had acted in pornographic video films..

The whole matter might have been buried in the debris of indifference but it came to light when the intrepid girls unable to bear the humiliation to their virgin integrity, lodged a petition to Assam Human Rights Commission.

The injury to the girls’ modesty was so profound that the full bench of the commission made up its mind to examine their petition on Tuesday the October 22.

I chanced to read: India Notes of the Indian Express. I was so disturbed that I discussed the matter with a local lady social activist who disclosed that a male doctor in a simple medico-legal case ordinarily asks a woman whether she has any objection if she is examined by him but in such a serious situation only a lady doctor could medically examine the girl.

She further adds that male policemen can never pick her up on any pretext or for that matter for questioning her at the police station. Neither can they keep her in the police station for the whole night.

All these offences are so serious that they need thorough and honest investigation. The Nalbari DC, local MLA Deka and Nalbari SP and the doctor on duty for making medico-legal certificate at the hospital have responsibilities to give honest explanations. Local people need awareness. The national dailies and magazines have the duty to give conspicuous coverage to educate laymen about their rights, the people’s representatives and local media their roles and local police their legal and moral responsibilities.

As long as all of us ignore such incidents as common daily occurrences, crimes against the women particularly and others in general will continue.

Ujjal Pal Singh, President Dina Nath Public School, NIT Faridabad

Varsity Teachers

The grouse against the apathetic attitude of an authority by Mr Ram Autar Yadav of Rewari through his letter “Homespun Teachers” (NCR Tribune, October 26, 2002), is that he has “been facing interviews since 1989 and no Ph.D. scholar ever got selected for the post of a lecture in English at PG Centre, Rewari.

All the eight lecturers were ‘locals’ and none from DU, JNU, PU or CIFL.... In these circumstances, extraneous considerations determine appointments in MDU. The homespun lecturers usually oblige their godfathers in perpetuating their issues and strengthening their fiefdoms”. Very true.

In this context, I would like to reproduce the relevant contents of the UGC (University Grants Commission) guidelines regarding selection procedure for appointments of teaching staff in the universities and colleges which “suggest that at least 50 per cent of the appointments to the post of lecturers should be from the persons who have taken their qualifying examinations (MA/Ph.D.) from other University”.

About 15 years back, I was not considered for appointment as Lecturer (having obtained the qualifying degrees in the relevant/concerned subject from University of Rajasthan, Jaipur) whereas the 100 per cent vacancies of lecturers were filled up from the persons who had obtained their MA degrees from this (MDU) university itself.

Interestingly, they were not having the Master’s degrees in the concerned subject. They were just in possession of Master’s degrees in an allied subject. I had represented the Chancellor of the University and the Chairman, UGC by name (photocopies are still in my possession) quoting 2-rulings of the Courts of Law, but nothing happened in the right direction.

First ruling: Madhumati Aggarwala, MA(Political Science) with some research work in sociology filed a petition against, 1) Utkal University and 2) Ms Shaheen Nilofer in Orissa High Court. The Court upheld as under:

“The relevant subject in the instant case is Sociology.

The fact remains that the petitioner has not obtained a degree in Sociology while the opposite party No 2 has. On the face of it, therefore, the petitioner is not entitled for consideration... although she may have done some research work in Sociology after doing her MA in Political Science. We thus find that the writ application is devoid of merits and it is accordingly dismissed.” (AIR 1987, Orissa: 124).

Om Parkash Wadhwa, Lecturer, Gohana

More postal staff

A post office, with one sub-post-master was set up in the market of Sector-9, Faridabad, about a quarter of a century ago, when this sector had just been carved out and there was very little population. Now the Sector is fully developed and the population has increased manifold, and so has the postal business, but the staff have not increased.

This post-office is still being managed by one sub-postmaster who, in spite of his best efforts, cannot cope with the present heavy volume of work which includes the maintenance of thousands of accounts.

The postal authorities are requested, in public interest, to attach one more sub-postmaster to this post office as early as possible. And if the work of collection of telephone bills is also going to be entrusted to this office, as is reported, then the strength should be raised to four. Otherwise, it will lead to a chaotic situation. The residents here are educated and a sizeable number of them are old and retired who cannot wait in the long queues.

Ram Saran Bhatia, Dist & Sessions Judge (retd), Faridabad



Stress on fiscal discipline
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
Strict financial discipline among borrowers is a must, particularly at a time when strict financial norms are being enforced in banks for lending, said Dr Dalbir Singh, chairman and managing director, Central Bank of India, at a meeting of bankers and borrowers, organised by the PHDCCI in the Capital on Thursday.

He said the risk management model should come into force by year 2004. In course of time, India would have to consider the risk perception models. According to international norms, higher risk meant higher interest charges whereas in India, it was exactly the opposite. In the current scenario, it was the good borrowers who had to suffer due to the bad discipline of bad borrowers.

Regarding non-performing assets (NPAs), he said it was a serious problem and institutions like the Chambers of Commerce should also persuade the non-performers to return the money back to the banks.

Mr Arun Kapur, president, PHDCCI, said that the Indian banks were going through various financial and structural changes to keep pace with the changes in the banking environment. To prepare themselves for the emerging challenges, the banks had to become more customer-centric offering a wide range of products through multiple delivery channels, become proficient in managing assets and liability, invest in technology for better MIS product development and pay greater attention to profitability. Mr P. K. Jain, vice-president, PHDCCI, emphasised on the need to distinguish between wilful and non-wilful defaulters. He also said that the bankers should offer the same package of concessions to the existing borrowers, which they might like to offer to the new borrowers of assets.



‘Humanity is the soul of all religions’
Tribune News Service

Satpal Maharaj addressing the sammelan

New Delhi, November 8
World famous spiritualist and humanitarian Satpal Maharaj has said that humanity is the soul of all religions. It is the duty of all religions to establish humanity in the centre of all actions of human beings in the society.

Satpal Maharaj was addressing a vast gathering of devotees from across the country and abroad at the inauguration of the Manav Dharam Sammelan.

Addressing a gathering at the three-day sammelan, Satpal Maharaj said that all great personalities and saints gave the message “Live and let others live”. He said that we were losing our inner power due to a great loss of moral energy, which was creating misunderstanding and inequality in the society. The politicians had no solid alternatives to face the current situation of the society. “They make laws, appoint police and think that the society will change. If we want to change it, we have to go in-depth, we have to realise our inner existence. Our inner power, our soul,” he said.

There was no leader in the country at present who could claim to have a high ideal of morality. When we were fighting for the freedom of India, there was Mahatma Gandhi who played a great role of a politician and a spiritualist and gave high morals to the society. It was the need of today that the politicians of India should realise the importance of high moral values, he exhorted.

Satpal Maharaj appealed to the politicians to stand united to push back all evils and differences and present an ideal of great morality. This could be done by adopting spiritual values in life. The unity and strength of India existed in our spiritual approach, he said.

Holy mother Amrita Ji, Mangla Ji, Shri Bhole Ji Maharaj and other saints also addressed the gathering.



Five quacks held in drive
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, November 8
As a part of the campaign launched against quacks, separate teams of the Health Department arrested five medical practitioners from different parts of the district who were practising without registration last evening.

According to official sources, an inspection team raided Dabur Medical Hall at Kahnaur village and nabbed its owner, Balraj, who was allegedly treating patients in an unauthorised manner. Another person, Paras Kumar, was caught by the team from Kharkara village. He was allegedly examining patients at Nandal Clinic.

Later, the team raided Kamla Clinic at Madina village and caught ‘red-handed’ its owner, Ram Kishan Biswas, while prescribing medicines to patients. Similarly, Bansi Lal and Mukesh Kumar were arrested for allegedly running Sanjiwani Clinic on the Jind road here without authorisation. The inspection teams recovered OPD registers, medicines and their bills from the suspects.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Yadav, has warned the quacks not to play with the lives of innocent people. He also appealed to the masses to co-operate with the authorities in the campaign launched against such ‘doctors’ who were practising in an unauthorised manner.

Bio-drainage Seminar today

A seminar on bio-drainage will be held here tomorrow by the Forest Department and the Command Area Development Authority to address the problems of salinity and waterlogging. Mr Jeet Ram, Conservator of Forests, Social Forestry, Rohtak said that due to waterlogging, the agricultural land in Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Rohtak, Jind, Hisar and Sonepat districts was suffering from salinity.

Though a pilot project based on bio-drainage technology for reclamation of waterlogged land in the affected districts was being implemented by the Forest Department with the assistance of the Command Area Development Authority during the current financial year, the strategies to implement this technology would be evolved at this seminar, he said.

Mr Sanjay Kothari, Commissioner and Secretary, Forests, Haryana will inaugurate the seminar while Ms Radha Singh, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Water Resources, will preside over the plenary session.



Muslims cremate poor Hindu
 Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, November 8
When people fight each other for selfish ends on the pretext of religion in different parts of the country, the people of Ghaziabad have set another laudable example of communal harmony. A group of good Muslims contributed money to perform the last rites of the unclaimed body of a poor Hindu rickshaw-puller the other day.

A Hindu rickshaw-puller, who was suffering from polio, was lying near a mosque in Nai Basti in the Town Hall area. He breathed his last on Divali night. Though the police were informed, nobody bothered to remove the body. Later, some good-hearted Muslims, including some fruit and meat sellers, pooled in money and arranged the last rites.

Factory worker stabbed to death: A factory worker, Babu Ram (35), was stabbed to death by criminals when he resisted their attempt to loot him in Loni on Thursday. The City SP, Mr Rajesh

Kumar Pande, said that Babu Ram was returning from Khurja after visiting his in-laws to go to his house in Indira Puri mohalla after alighting from a bus when three to four criminals accosted him and tried to snatch his bags.

When he raised an alarm, he was attacked with knives by the desperados. By the time residents of the locality came running to his rescue, the criminals had fled leaving Babu Ram in a pool of blood. Babu Ram, originally from Vidhey Pur village of Bulandshahr, was rushed to a hospital in a serious condition, where he succumbed after sometime.

The police have recovered Rs 5,500 from Babu Ram’s pocket. He was employed as a worker in a Delhi factory. Babu Ram’s brother-in-law said that he was carrying a quilt and some other belongings, which were missing. The SP City said that since the cash was recovered intact, it showed that criminals had no intention to loot him. A case of murder has been registered.

Youths assault Son, kill father: A person, who intervened when his son was being thrashed by three youths, was reportedly assaulted with lathis and rods by the assailants. He succumbed to his injuries later in Loni area on Thursday. Bobby, son of Jagdish (50) of Rajiv Garden Colony in Loni, was thrashed by three youths on Thursday with lathis and rods. Seeing his son being beaten up, Jagdish ran to the spot and intervened in the matter. He had apparently pacified the youths and saved his son, but only temporarily. As soon as Jagdish reached his house, the three assailants came and rained a number of lathi blows on his head. A profusely bleeding Jagdish fell unconscious. He was rushed to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital in Shahdara, New Delhi, where Jagdish succumbed to his injuries after a while.



Nirankari exhibition starts at samagam venue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
Head of the Sant Nirankari Mission Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj inaugurated the Nirankari exhibition, which will be the centre of attraction at the samagam, yesterday. The samagam will be inaugurated by His Holiness with a “message to mankind” tomorrow in view of the incidents of violence in the name of religion reported from various parts of the world including our own country.

According to Mr K. R. Chadha, convenor of the Samagam Committee, the samagam will seek to convince the world that the realisation of the ‘Eternal Truth’ the mission professes is the most effective means to achieve the long-cherished goal of human unity, equality and fraternity. One will find here people belonging to different religious faiths, speaking different languages and having different cultural backgrounds meeting each other and wishing well for all, simply because they believe in one God.

The volunteers of the Sant Nirankari Sewa Dal and other devotees who have been working daily from early morning till late in the evening for the last about four weeks have completed the preparations. Spread over more than 350 acres of land, the Samagam Complex will not only have a big pandal for the satsang programmes but will provide residential accommodation also to the lakhs of devotees coming from far-off places. The participants belonging to Delhi and adjoining areas up to Karnal, Rohtak and Ghaziabad will commute daily.

To ensure the provision of various amenities like water, sewerage, electricity, transport, telephones etc, the organising committee has been working in close co-ordination with the government departments and other organisations concerned.



Pension for ex-servicemen above 60 years hiked
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 8
The monthly pension for the ex-servicemen and widows of ex-servicemen above the age of 60 years has been hiked from Rs 200 to Rs 400 from September. According to district authorities, about 516 individuals, including 284 widows and 232 ex-servicemen, had been getting the hiked pension. While there are a total of 7,022 ex-servicemen in the district, kin of three defence personnel who lost their lives in the Kargil war have been allotted petrol pumps by the Union Government.

Village name changed

The Haryana Government has changed the name of Khera Serai, a village in the district, to Bamni Khera, according to a press release issued here today.

Magistrate panel

The authorities have invited applications for setting up the Special Judicial Magistrate panel for trying petty offences in the district. The applicants should have at least three years’ experience as Executive Magistrates or six months’ experience as SDMs or three years’ experience as counsels in the high court.

Lawyers go on fast

Narnaul: On the call given by the Bar Council of India, members of the District Bar Association today observed a day-long hunger strike. In an emergency meeting, they resolved to boycott Lok Adalat proceedings to be held tomorrow. The lawyers condemned the amendment to the Legal Services Authorities Act. Litigants attending courts had to obtain further dates.

Lawyers are demanding deletion of Section 19 and Section 22 A-D in the Legal Services Authority Act. The meeting was held at the District Bar Room at Narnaul under the presidentship of Ravinder Singh Yadav.

Youth fires at sister-in-law

Sonepat: A young housewife, Mrs Anju, sustained bullet injuries when a youth, said to be the brother of her husband, fired at her in her house at Bahalgarh village, about 10 km from here, last evening. According to a report, the alleged assailant managed to escape immediately after the incident. The injured woman was rushed to the local civil hospital from where she was shifted to a trauma centre in Delhi for further treatment. Her refusal to marry him is said to be the main cause of the shooting. The police have launched a hunt to apprehend the culprit.

Woman killed in mishap

A woman was killed on the spot and two others, father and son, were injured seriously when their motorcycle was hit by a car on the G T Road near Sanpera village, 18 km from here, last evening. The deceased was identified as Mrs

Kamlesh whereas the injured are Mr Nand Lal and his four-year-old son Rahul. All are residents of Pabnas village in Kaithal district. Both the injured persons were rushed to the local civil hospital from where they were shifted to a trauma centre in Delhi for further treatment. The victims were going on a motorcycle from Kaithal to Dharuhera (Gurgaon). The police have registered a case.

According to another report, two persons, including a woman, were injured when a tyre of a motorcycle burst on the Sonepat-Rohtak road near a brick kiln, about 15 km from here, last evening. Both the injured persons, Ms Sunita and Suresh, were immediately hospitalised and they are stated to be out of danger. They were going to Kansala village from Kharkhauda town.



Traffic warning for Jagannath Yatra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
The Delhi Traffic Police have made elaborate traffic arrangements for the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra on November 9. The yatra will start at 1 pm from Subhash Maidan, opposite the Parade Ground, and will proceed through Daryaganj, Delhi Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Shraddanand Marg, Khari Boali, Fetehpuri, Chandni Chowk and will end at Subhash Maidan. The motorists are asked to take diversions to avoid traffic snarls.

Polio drops on November 17: Phase 2 of the Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme will be organised on November 17. Health Minister A. K. Walia today said that 7,000 Polio Kendras would be set up for the programme. The vaccine will be administered to children below five years of age. The minister chaired a meeting to review the preparations for the event.

peaceful SGPC poll urged: President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Jathedar Rachhpal Singh today demanded that the forthcoming SGPC elections scheduled for November 12 should be conducted in a peaceful manner. He was addressing the media here today. Jathedar Singh also demanded a ban on books like ‘Yug Purush’ and ‘Amrit Vaani’, describing them as being against the religious teachings.

BJP on property tax assessment: The Delhi unit of the BJP has demanded that the procedures under the unit area method of property tax should be rational, transparent and assessment friendly. Provision for depositing the property tax should be made available through the Internet. Leader of Opposition in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi Subhash Arya said that there should be categories for assessment of property tax with uniform property tax rate in the Capital. Charitable or religious institutions, urbanised villages, houses of war widows and martyrs of war who were exempted from the tax should still be exempted, he demanded.

He also demanded that before implementing the new tax assessment system, guidelines formulated by the Union Ministry of Urban Development should be strictly adhered to. Property tax should not exceed the commercial benefits derived from the property. If a property was on rent, the authorities concerned should be careful that tax should not be more than the rent received by the property owners.



Sabha comes to the aid of the old

Rewari, November 8
In the Chitragupt Sabha, a prominent social organisation of the region, the inmates of the Old-age and Disabled Home as well as the destitute children of the Aastha Kunj here have found a genuinely humane patron.

Talking to ‘NCR Tribune’ here on Thursday, Dr Shiv Shant Chandra and Dr Vinod Behari Sinha, president and secretary respectively of the Chitragupt Sabha, said that service to the neglected as well as most needy sections of the society had been a top priority of the sabha since its inception in 1999.

The sabha has come to the help of the 15 men and 15 women inmates of the Old-age and Disabled Home. They were being provided requisite medical facilities and medical know how by the medical team of the sabha. OC


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