Tuesday, December 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


‘Brain fever’ strikes Meerut
Snuffs out lives of five kids 
Our Correspondent

Meerut, December 2
The mysterious ‘brain fever’, which has already claimed the life of more than 175 children in the Saharanpur division, has now struck the Meerut division and snuffed out the lives of five children in the area.

Two children were killed in Katana and Jonmana villages due to the brain fever. While a child in a serious condition was referred to Delhi from Baghpat.

Senior officials of the Health Department, including the chief medical officer and the chief medical superintendent meanwhile claimed that the fever had no impact in the area.

In Baraut Shakib, son of Rahees of Katana village fainted after vomiting. He was admitted to a hospital in a serious condition. The doctors declared him brought dead. The grandson of Akhtar Hazi is also down with brain fever.

While in Janmana village, Sonia (6), daughter of Shripal had fever yesterday. She vomited and fainted several times. Sonia was admitted to a private nursing home where the doctors referred her to Delhi. Sonia died on the way to Delhi.

Some victims of brain fever were also admitted to the government district hospital here. The Chief Medical Officer, Dr S K Arora, told the ‘NCR Tribune’ that the health department had already started taking precautionary measures following the death of children. Dr Arora said that this viral remained active from November to February.

He said that the cases of encephalitis were not heard either in 1997 when at least 20 deaths were reported in Seeroospur and Binali block of Meerut district and senior scientists from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases also investigated the matter.

He said that the health department made more than 300 slides of blood in the area and sent them to the Meerut Medical College for examination. Additional Director (Health) Dr A K Goyal said that the disease was under control in Meerut and urged the citizens not to get panicky.

Meanwhile, taking a serious note of the death of children in Saharanpur division, Chief Minister Miss Mayawati asked the Health Secretary and the Director-General, Health Services, to camp in the Saharanpur division.

A team of senior doctors of Lucknow also rushed to Saharanpur.

The Government ordered an enquiry to investigate the death of children and appointed Dr Rambabu, Health Director, Lucknow division, to submit a detailed report in the matter. The Additional Director (Health) also left for Saharanpur.



Auto stir: Commuters left high and dry
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 2
Hundreds of commuters at the railway stations, inter-state bus terminals and the airports were left to fend for themselves as more than 45,000 autorickshaws in the city went off the road today, protesting against the high-handedness of the authorities in the installation of electronic meters.

Men, women and children carrying their baggage waited for hours together to find an alternative source of transport to take them to their destinations. Mercifully, some taxi operators were plying their vehicles as they belonged to the unions opposed to the one which had given the call for a strike. The Confederation of Transport Unions Congress claimed that the strike was successful.

The Supreme Court had issued a directive to the Delhi Government to ensure that the autorickshaws switch over to the electronic meter system. The electronic meters are considered tamper-proof and environment-friendly.

As many autos failed to implement the government order saying that the electronic meters are not viable for them, several autorickshaw unions decided to go on a one-day token strike following the crackdown of the authorities.

Delhi Transport Minister Ajay Maken had already told the unions that the government was ready to hold talks with them provided they implement the order first. He reiterated that the present fare system was very fair.

Despite failing to install the electronic meters, the Delhi Traffic Police had launched a drive to challan erring autorickshaws. The police challaned them Rs 100 for the first time and Rs 300 for the second time. Even permits of many autorickshaws were cancelled as they did not turn up to pay the fines.

Meanwhile, the roads in the city had witnessed a smooth traffic without autos except for some of the commuters who had a harrowing time waiting for the public transport. The buses were overcrowded despite the claims of the authorities that extra buses would ply.

The police sources said that the strike went on peacefully as no untoward incidents were reported in the city. However, several autorickshaw drivers who tried to ply in the morning alleged that the members of the union deflated their tyres and in some cases also roughed them up for not participating in the strike.

People were generally happy that at last some government was taking action against the autorickshaw drivers who had been fleecing the commuters by over-charging and often refusing to ferry passengers to their desired destination.



SC wants status report on polluting units
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 2
After inviting the wrath, almost, of the Supreme Court for dilly dallying in phasing out diesel buses, the Government of NCT of Delhi finds itself again in the line of fire, this time over the delay in relocating polluting industries to the outskirts of the Capital.

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Government of NCT of Delhi to file a status report detailing the steps taken to implement its order of shifting of polluting industries from residential areas. A Bench comprising justices YK Sabharwal and HK Sema gave the government six weeks’ time in a petition originally filed by environmentalist lawyer MC Mehta complaining about the pollution caused by these industries in the residential areas.

If that were not a rap enough on the knuckles, the court asked the government to file an affidavit detailing the progress made in the establishment of Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) to treat industrial wastes before their discharge into the Yamuna. Some of the industrial societies objected to the government order raising their contribution for the construction of CETPs by two to three times. The Bench asked the government to respond to this allegation and posted the matter for further hearing after six weeks.

Two years back, the court had passed the order for relocating industries. The deadline was accordingly set for December 31. The government claims it is doing everything to expedite the relocation of industries to the industrial areas in Bawana and Narela. Industries Minister Deep Chand Bandhu would like the NCT of Delhi to believe his department is working overtime to honour the apex court’s directions. However, if the statistics are any indicator the Department of Industries seems to be working hard without getting things done.

A status report on the steps taken by the government so far – as has been sought by the court – would probably read something like this : Out of the 28,000 applicants found eligible for allotment of alternate industrial plots, only 7,311 allottees have made 100 per cent payment towards the cost of plot. Furthermore, only 750 allottees have so far taken physical possession of the industrial plots in Bawana. Some 200 individuals have declined to take possession. Another 24,000 applicants had sought refund of their monies.

For the record, the minister cites a host of reasons for the delay : They range from “procedural hurdles” to “industrial slump.” “Given the downturn in the economy, plot owners do not have the resources to actually construct their establishments in Bawana. They would rather continue to operate out of lanes and bylanes for now and cut production costs than shift,” the minister says referring to the reservations expressed by the allottees.

The minister nevertheless asserts the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (DSIDC) is doing its utmost to salvage lost time. A facilitation centre, he informs, has been set up in Wazirpur to offer a host of services under one roof : From securing electricity and water connection to getting the plan approved by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). The minister’s optimism though is matched by the plot owners’ indifference. Not one allottee has begun construction work on his plot.



Govt pushing Acts through backdoor: Cong
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 2
Between a rock and a hard place. That perhaps best described the Congress’ position in the Rajya Sabha on Monday after Union Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar moved the Delhi Metro Railway (Operation and Maintenance) Bill 2002. (The Bill was later passed by voice vote.)

Not wanting to be seen as the party that stalled the Bill’s passage the party exercised the next best option of moving a statutory resolution disapproving the Delhi Metro Railway (Operation and Maintenance) Ordinance 2002 promulgated on October 29. (The resolution was not pressed for.)

While asserting that his party had decided to support the Bill in public interest, Pranab Mukherjee of the Congress wanted to know why the government chose to take the Ordinance route three weeks before Parliament was to be summoned.

Moving the resolution, Mukherjee charged the Union Government with being in the “habit” of taking the Ordinance route for important pieces of legislation. Stating that the Congress-administered Government of NCT of Delhi had been kept out of the discussions on the Bill, he said the decision to promulgate an Ordinance was suspect.

Amid Opposition protest, the government told the Rajya Sabha authorities in Delhi had failed to respond to the draft on the Metro Rail project, forcing the Centre to issue an Ordinance for its operation and maintenance.

“We circulated the draft to the Government of NCT of Delhi in 2000. Thereafter, 10 reminders were sent but for one-and-a-half years, we received no comments,” Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar said. He added the Centre was left with no other option but to issue an Ordinance since the first phase of Shahdara-Tees Hazari line was scheduled to begin by December-end.

The minister informed the House that 35 cities had been identified for providing Metro-type rapid mass urban transport system. Talks in this connection had been going on with a number of state governments, Kumar said in reply to a discussion on the Bill. He said the Metro Rail concept was part of the urban transport system and the National Urban Transport Policy would be announced next year.



Sonepat cops: How to win and influence people
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 2
The Police Department has launched Operation Sadbhavana to check crime against women and improve the police-public relations in Sonepat district and elsewhere. According to police sources, this operation would continue till the end of the current month. During the operation, the police would take prompt action on complaints regarding crime against women, including dowry harassment, dowry deaths, rape and molestation, and arrest those involved in these crimes without any delay. Police sources also say that the police would take stern action against those persons who are involved in atrocities on the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, children, aged persons and the people belonging to weaker sections.

During the second phase of the operation, the police would challan schoolchildren who are found riding two-wheelers, including scooters, mopeds and motor cycles. The police authorities have already asked the Principals and Headmasters of schools to direct the students not to ride two-wheelers while coming to the educational institutions. The police authorities have also appealed to parents of schoolchildren, asking them not to give two-wheelers to them. This step has been taken to minimise the incidence of road accidents in this district and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the police officials of this district was held here yesterday to make Operation Sadbhavana a success. This meeting was attended, among others, by gazetted officers and Station House Officers (SHOs) of all police stations and police posts in the district.

The police authorities gave directions to the subordinate officials and asked them to take stern action against those found violating the rule of law.

They have been also asked to challan students who are found riding two-wheelers in this city and elsewhere in the district. The police officials have also been directed to take action against the Principals and Headmasters of the schools if their students are found violating the traffic rules.



Organisers forget ramps for disabled players
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 2
Officials of Nahar Singh Stadium here are a gleeful lot. After all, they are basking in international glare since they are organising a one-day international cricket match for physically challenged players from India and England tomorrow. Alas! They seem to have shut their eyes to providing the basic infrastructure needed to take care of the needs of the physically challenged players and officials by forgetting to provide ramps for them.

With the organisers giving sensitivity the go-by, a pitiable sight was witnessed today as several participants, including visitors from England, struggled to reach the lounge where the press conference was being hosted. Certain officials and players, who have to use wheelchairs, faced extreme difficulty in the absence of a ramp. Some of them were lifted in their wheelchairs by the attendants at the stadium. Although the district authorities and the District Cricket Association (DCA) Club agreed to host the match a few days ago, they had failed to make any arrangement for providing ramps for the disabled players and officials. It is reported that both the teams have included players who have 40 per cent or more physical disability.

On the one hand the district authorities have reportedly asked the District Red Cross to ensure attendance of a large number of disabled persons, especially children, at the stadium. But then, perhaps in their zeal to host an international match, they forgot to cater to the most basic needs of the disabled players. 



Higher rent limit proposed under Rent Control Bill 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 2
The recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Delhi Rent Control Amendment Bill, 1997 envisaged that the monthly rental limits be increased from Rs 3,500 to Rs 7,500 for the purpose of applicability of the Act, informed the Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr O. Rajagopal, in the Rajya Sabha today.

He added that it was recommended that the format and procedure for rent agreement be prescribed and the period of inheritability in respect of tenancies of non-residential premises be increased from three years to five years. At present, the Bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha.

Mr Rao also informed the House that the Delhi Jal Board had ensured that sewer lines and drains were not laid near the water pipes. The DJB also undertook regular surveys to replace the old and corroded water pipes.

The Minister of Law and Justice, Mr Jana Krishnamurthi, informed the Rajya Sabha that Lok Adalats in Delhi were hearing cases pertaining to nationalised banks.



IMA chief flayed for calling non-allopathy 
docs quacks
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, December 2
The state branch of the National Integrated Medical Association has flayed the statement of Dr Raman Agarwal, vice-president of the Indian Medical Association, Punjab, for calling the registered medical practitioners quacks.

In a statement issued here today, the state president of the association, Dr R. B. Goel, maintained that serving the ailing humanity was not the monopoly of allopathy doctors. He said that the integrated doctors were serving about 68 per cent of the total population of the country. He said that the latest position with regard to the medical practitioners holding degree in integrated courses (Ayurveda and Modern Scientific Systems of Medicine) and their right to practise modern scientific medicine in all its branches had been clearly decided by the full Bench of the SC, comprising Chief Justice M. M. Punchi, Justic K. T. Thomas and Justice S. S. M. Quadri in the case of Dr Mukhtiar Chand and others versus State of Punjab and others on October 8, 1998. While deciding this case, the apex court had ruled that “the position with regard to medical practitioners of Indian medicine holding degrees in integrated courses is on the same plain in as much as if any state Act recognises their qualifications as sufficient for registration in the State Medical Register; the prohibition contained in Section 15(2) (b) of the 1956 Act will not apply.”

Dr Goel said that as per the verdict, the GAMS or BAMS doctors had every right to use allopathy and the IMA should refrain from issuing such misinformation in the Press.

Development charges decried: The District Congress Committee has flayed the local municipal council’s decision to recover development charges at the rate of Rs 120 per square feet and asked to withdraw it immediately. In a meeting held here at Tilak Bhawan on Sunday, the Congress leaders criticised the INLD government for its “anti-farmer’ policies. Presiding over the meeting, DCC president Vasudev Sharma alleged that the real face of the state and central governments, which had been claiming themselves as the true friend of the farmers, had come before the public.

Dr Sharma said that only the Congress had implemented schemes for the welfare of farmers in the true manner. He alleged that each section of the society was suffering because of the state government. By imposing tax on MRP of 60 items, it had become evident that the government was anti-trader, he said.

Former minister Hira Nand Arya said that the HVP government had ravaged the innocent people in the name of prohibition and now the present state government intended to plunder them by opening casinos.

Man receives burns: A mentally challenged man, identified as Mange Ram (50) of Santokhpura village under Charkhi Dadri subdivision, suffered burns today when he sat on a burning heater at his house. He was rushed to the civil hospital at Charkhi Dadri by the family members. 



Dil le gaya munda Punjab da
Nalini Ranjan

As a universal language that rises above religion, caste, creed, communities, and that gives man the urge to soar above the mundane and to be one with the sublime, Jasbir Jassi sees music as the means to unite the world. Polite and soft-spoken, he is a typical Punjabi singer with a gorgeous personality. He has gone through the ups and downs of music industry.

Having hit the top of the charts with `Dil Le Gayi Kuri', the major hit song of 1999, he gave the first beat song ‘Kuri Kuri’ followed by more successful numbers like ‘Nishani Pyar Dee'.

Jassi started his career by singing and composing for stage shows. In 1999, he recorded a song, ‘Channa Ve Teri Channani' with music director Charanjeet Ahuja. It became very popular in Punjab and he began to sing traditional songs.

Under the guidance of renowned theatre personality Harpaal Tiwana, Jassi had also presented many stage shows in Punjab for nearly two years.

In the recently concluded India International Trade Fair, Jassi's selected hit numbers were played as background music by the Punjab Pavilion.

Jassi was recently in the Capital to release his latest musical album, ‘Coka Tera Coka’, when the ‘NCR Tribune’ caught up with him. In an exclusive conversation, he spoke about various aspects of his association with Punjabi pop singing. Excerpts:

You had just released your music album ‘Just Jassi’. Now ‘Coka Tera Coka’ is in the market. What is new in this album?

The title song is strong enough to be popular as the earlier ones. The beats are catchy and the picturisation is different. The selection of accompaniment has always been a priority for me, especially when it comes to experimentation. This time, I had used a mixture of bass and ‘rabab’. I was also very conscious in selecting the songs this time.

This album is a good blend of Haryanavi, Gujarati and Punjabi folk songs. There is also one Sufi song, written by Bulle Shah. ‘Heer’ is the big number of this cassette. It can be understood only by those who are acquainted with Punjabi folk songs.

How did you come into this field?

My early childhood was happy and adventurous as I belong to a very well-to-do family. I was born in a very typical town in Punjab and I was the most pampered member of my family.

However, my home environment was hardly conducive for pursuing music and other creative arts. I had an inborn fascination and dedication towards music and singing.

In the early morning, I used to practise with a harmonium in the storeroom so that my father could not see or hear me. After acquiring the basic knowledge of ‘Sur’ and ‘Taal’ from V. S. Jolly, I finally obtained a Master’s Degree in classical music.

The biggest influence in my life has been my mentor and spiritual guru, Baba Kashmira Singh Ji, who had inspired me to look beyond all horizons and reach the pinnacle of perfection in this field. The rest is history.

What is music to you?

Music is the religion of togetherness. This is a time to overcome our religious differences and save humanity. I think religions have divided people into different sections and have not brought people closer. Music has a soul, which can bring all souls together.

Music has no religion and no language, but it has one theme, which the entire mankind can enjoy. Music is a stage, where people from different societies and communities dance together, clap together, sing together and enjoy together.

You are a Punjabi. But your first hit song is dedicated to ‘Gujarati Kuri’. Could you reveal the secret behind this song?

My girl friend is from Gujarat. So I have a special attraction to this state. This is to such an extent that I had wanted to do charity shows in different parts of this state to help the riot victims. However, the state government did not give me the permission.

What are you doing new in this field?

For me, each day and each moment is full of new discoveries in the field of music. I want to make Punjabi music so popular that it will break all barriers of language, religion, nationality and race. I have a keen ear for melody, lilted harmony and am quick to adopt any strain, be it from folk, classical, western or African.

Unlike other established Punjabi singers like Gurdass Mann and Harbajan Singh, I have no film venture lined up. I am concentrating on singing folk songs. Right now, I am doing research on the Dogri style of Punjabi folk music. I will do some experiments in this direction.

In your opinion, what is the reason behind the success of Punjabi folk songs in comparison to folk songs in other languages like Bhojpuri and Bengali?

Punjabi folk music is very melodious and it has a global audience. There is a sort of boom in the demand for Punjabi folk music. However, we should not underrate folk music in other languages. They have also their potential.



Stone of underpass at Madhuban Chowk laid
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 2
The Minister of Tourism, Transport and Power, Mr Ajay Maken, today laid the foundation stone for the construction of an underpass at Madhuban Chowk. Mr S.C. Vats, MLA, Mr Ramesh Sabharwal and Mr Rajeev Talwar, Chairman and MD respectively of Delhi Tourism, were also present on the occasion. The minister appreciated the DTTDC efforts to beautify and give landscaping under the Peeragarhi flyover.

He further praised the proposal of constructing a mini coffee home and an amphitheatre under the Raja Garden flyover.



MCD Councillor creates a scene

New Delhi: Asif Mohammed Khan, an independent councillor from Okhla, today created a scene in the meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) as he tore his clothes, brandished an inkpot and displayed a huge poster to protest against the visit of the municipal commissioner, Mr. Rakesh Mehta, of which he had no prior information.

Shouting and screaming, the corporator alleged that the commissioner had deliberately insulted him to curry favour with the Congress MLA from the area, Parvez Hashmi. The Mayor, Mrs. Jaishree Panwar, hurriedly adjourned the house when she thought that the situation was getting out of hand. TNS



Fake stamp papers worth lakhs seized
Our Correspondent

Noida, December 2
With the arrest of four persons, the Sector 39 police claimed have busted a gang involved in printing fake stamp papers.

Subsequently, the police have seized fake stamp papers worth Rs 2 lakh from them besides some equipment.

According to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mr Rajiv Krishan, the police had been tipped off that some people were selling fictitious stamp papers in Noida. A police team from the Sector 39 police station were put on the job to arrest those involved in the illegal activity.

The police team were tipped off that two persons would be coming to Sector 37 with fake stamp papers. The police team, which were on the lookout, arrested the men, identified as identified as Phurey Singh, resident of Chhitraula, Ghaziabad and Bobby, resident of Naya Santha, Bulandshahr. On frisking them, the police recovered fake stamp papers.

Based on the information provided by the two arrested men, the police raided few other locations in Bulandshahr and arrested Shushil Kumar, son of Murari Lal of Devpura Kotwali Nagar, and Sanjay, son of Chukkan Lal of Kothyat, Bulandshahr.

Fake stamp papers worth Rs 1.46 lakh, a computer monitor, printer, scanner, rubber stamps chemicals and some other gadgets were also recovered from the premises. The gang is estimated to have flooded the market with fake stamp papers worth several lakhs of rupees. The gang had its links in Noida, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad and other districts.



Woman, 2 kids run over by train
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 2
A 30-year-old housewife, Mrs Kamlesh, and her three-year-old daughter and six-year-old son were killed on the spot when they were trapped under the speeding Delhi-bound Amritsar Express while crossing the track near Samalkha railway station, about 35 km from here, yesterday.

According to a report, the Government Railway Police have sent the bodies for post-mortem examination. The victims boarded a tempo at Naraina village and got down from it near the Manana railway crossing and tried to cross the track when the train ran over them.

Decomposed body: The decomposed body of an unidentified labourer was found in the debris of a cloth mill under construction situated on the Sonepat-Bahalgarh road near Ahmadpur village, about 5 km from here, last evening.

According to a report, the labourers were removing the debris of an under-construction building when the body was found in a decomposed condition.

The police were immediately informed about the body, which has been sent to the PGIMS, Rohtak for the post-mortem examination. The police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress.

Inquiries made by this correspondent have revealed that the lentil of the under-construction building collapsed on October 23, resulting in injuries to 27 persons, including 11 women.

The police had registered a case against the owner of the factory, Mukesh Aggarwal, and the contractor, Raj Singh of Udesipur village. They were consequently arrested on the charge of negligence and causing injuries to 27 persons.

Seed shops looted: Thieves are reported to have broken open the shutters of five seed shops near the main bus stand here last night and took away about Rs 1 lakh and goods. According to a report, the shopkeepers have lodged FIRs with the police and further investigations are in progress. The increasing incidents of thefts have caused panic among the shopkeepers and residents of the city.

Skeleton found: The police recovered the skeleton of an unidentified man lying in a field at Jatheri village, 8 km from here, yesterday. According to a report, the police have sent it to the PGIMS, Rohtak for the post-mortem examination. A case has also been recovered in this connection. 



Notorious escapee rearrested

Ghaziabad: Notorious criminal Harpreet, alias Happy, who had escaped from Ghaziabad police custody over one and a half year ago, has again been arrested by the Special Task Force of UP police early Sunday morning.

Happy was carrying a reward of Rs 20,000 on his head. P K Valyan, Inspector of STF has handed over Harpreet to Sahibabad police. Harpreet, who is a resident of Durgapuri, Delhi under Shahdara police station, was arrested at 3.30 am on Sunday from Ganesh Vihar colony of Ambala Cantt. Happy is also the main accused in transporter Gurcharan Singh Gill’s murder in February 1994. OC



Traders mull over strategy on MRP
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, December 2
Members of the Haryana Beopar Mandal, led by Mr Lakshmi Chand Gupta, will meet here on December 19 to review the situation in the wake of tax imposed on the MRP of 60 items by the government and decide the future course of action.

The traders of the town today took out a procession and submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the Deputy Commissioner, demanding immediate withdrawal of the tax imposed on MRP (maximum retail price) of 60 items in the interest of the consumers and the traders. The traders at Jind will take out a procession tomorrow and those of Sonepat and Jhajjar on December 8 and 10 respectively.

Mr Jagdish Kapoor, general secretary, Traders Association, described the tax on MRP as a `black law’ and said that Haryana was the only state in the country that had imposed this tax. The tax, if not withdrawn, would ruin the traders and the trade, he said.

The memorandum alleged that the law and order situation in the state had worsened and the citizens were feeling insecure. The government, whose duty was to maintain law and order effectively, had virtually become a silent spectator, the memorandum alleged. The memorandum further demanded withdrawal of professional tax and the “bhatti” tax imposed on halwais.



Natarajan takes over as CMD of BEML
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, December 2
Mr V. R. S. Natarajan assumed charge as the new Chairman & Managing Director of Bharat Earth Movers Ltd today at its corporate office in Bangalore. He had been the Director of Electronics Corporation of India Limited till recently.

Mr Natarajan has 27 years of experience in public and private sectors. He played a pivotal role in the turnaround of Binny Limited, which was had been incurring heavy losses for over two decades. He also worked with Bharat Gold Mines Limited and Lakshmi Automatic Works. In July 1997, he joined ECIL as a general manager and did pioneering work. 


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