Tuesday, February 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Examiner row jams M.Phil (music) results
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
There seems to be something seriously wrong with the functioning of Panjab University’s Music Department which has been sitting over the results of M Phil examination for the session 2001-2002 for almost a year now. While the new batch of MPhil students of the 2002-2003 academic session prepares to take its exams, the 11 MPhil students of the last year’s batch are still waiting for declaration of their results.

Even as a year has gone by, there are reports that the department has not yet complied the results of the 11 students whose fate hangs in balance on account of non-declaration of results on the part of authorities concerned. These students cannot take the advantage of the degree, despite having taken the exams needed to hold it.

Independent enquiries by the Chandigarh Tribune revealed that the 11 students of last year’s M Phil batch took their written examination in April 2002. They submitted their dissertation by May 31, 2002. Even as these students battle for a secure future in the absence of an M.Phil degree, the department does not seem interested in tackling the issue.

When contacted, the Head of Department, Music, Dr Pankaj Mala Sharma, declined to talk at length about the reasons behind the non-declaration of results. She, however, said there was some problem being faced. On being questioned about the nature of this problem which was jeopardising the future of 11 students in question, she said, “There is some technical problem. These things are confidential, and cannot be disclosed.”

Enquiries, however, reveal that there is no such technical problem. Reliable sources stated that the results had been blocked on the issue that there was a large difference between marks allotted to some of the last year’s M.Phil students by external and internal examiners. Sources said the HoD had long been taking this very plea for the non-declaration of results and she had also been proposing that a third examiner would be roped in for sorting out the problem of gap in the marks allotted. Nothing, however, matured. In normal cases, the average of the marks allotted by external and internal examiner are allotted as final marks to the student.

Not only that, the students who had submitted their dessertations a year back have not yet been called for a viva, thus pointing towards further delay in the declaration of results.

It has been learnt that delays in holding of examination and even in the allotment of supervisors for dessertations and lecture demonstrations have become commonplace in the Music Department over the past few years. While the last year’s students are keeping their fingers crossed, this year’s students are no better placed. Where the scheduled time for the allotment of supervisors for lecture demonstrations and thesis is September end, this time these allotments were made in January, thus delaying the process by about four months.

Meanwhile, Music Department’s Advisory Committee meeting is due on February 17. Hopefully, the issue of last year’s M Phil results will be taken up at the meeting.



2 lecturers indicted in unfair means case
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Two college lecturers have been indicted in an inquiry conducted by the Panjab University’s Unfair Means Cases (UMC) committee for allegedly concealing and misrepresenting facts in an attempt to favour a student, thereby implicating another candidate in the process. The committee has recommended to the Vice Chancellor of Panjab University that disciplinary action be initiated against the two accused lecturers, it is learnt.

According to information available, one of the lecturers is from the Government College, Sector 46, while the other is from Government College for Women, Ludhiana. The former was the centre superintendent and the later was the assistant superintendent at Government College, Sector 46, centre, during the BA examinations conducted by the university in April 2002.

The report is to be placed before the university Syndicate during its meeting scheduled to be held on February 15.

During the English paper, a UMC case had been made out against a student but the accused had mentioned incorrect name and roll number on the form used for the purpose. The case was made out against roll no 48111, where as the actual offender’s roll number was 48090.

When summoned by the UMC committee, the student bearing roll number 48111 denied that any case was made out against him during the examination and this was verified by the committee by cross-questioning him and scrutinizing his answer-sheet. The committee also noted that the actual offender did not appear before the committee despite several summons.

The centre superintendent, in his reply to the committee has stated that a UMC had been made out against roll number 48111, but the candidate had furnished incorrect particulars. The assistant superintendent stated that he had written a detailed report on the reverse side of the answer-sheet’s title page.

The committee observed that the reply given by the centre superintendent to the committee was “unsatisfactory”, and they gave a clear indication that perhaps a UMC was made out against roll number 48090, but was hushed up.

The committee further observed that there was no credence in the assistant superintendent’s statement that “UMC” was written on roll number 48111’s answer sheet. It also observed that the assistant superintendent writing a report on the back of the title page is an unprecedented act.

Accusing the lecturers of making a confusing and apparently mischievous report in the case, the committee opined that it was clear that a UMC was made out against roll number 48090, but incorrect particulars were recorded by them.



MC panels may not have BJP heads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The BJP is likely to be denied chairmanship of any House Committee of the Municipal Corporation for the second year in running and Harpreet Kaur, whose husband Devinder Singh Babla was expelled from the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, is likely to head an important committee.

Mayor Subhash Chawla's bete noire and a Manish Tiwari group loyalist Chander Mukhi Sharma may not again be given the chairmanship of any committee for allegedly hobnobbing with the BJP ahead of mayoral elections, Congress sources told the Chandigarh Tribune here today.

Mr Sharma had been claiming that he had staked his claim for the party candidature for mayorship and had nothing to do with the BJP.

Mr Chawla is believed to have prepared the list of members for each committee keeping in mind the chairmanship in each committee and has sent it for consultation to the party President, Mr B. B. Bahl and the local MP Pawan Bansal. The approval of the party is likely to be given by tomorrow.

Congress councillors Pardeep Chhabra, Balraj Singh, Surinder Singh, CVM members Harpreet Kaur Babla, Jitender Bhatia, Ms Amar Kulwant Singh, Dr K.S. Raju, Mr C. K. Swahney and Mr Dildar Khan may get chairmanship of committees as per the list prepared by the Mayor.

The Mayor is in a dilemma over the share of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch all of whose councillors have either gone close to the Congress or have been soft on the Congress.

The Leader of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, Mr Jitender Bhatia has been claiming that the group led by him has to be given representation as Ms Babla was still technically a member of the CVM.

However, the expelled Chandigarh Vikas Manch member Vijay Rana, who is also a member of the Finance and Contract Committee, has been claiming that Ms Babla was with him.

The Mayor's list has been accommodative with regard to the nominated councillors who are believed to have voted for the BJP in the Mayoral elections.

The Road Committee Chairman last year, Mr Pardeep Chhabra, who had won appreciation of the party for his work in the road sector, may now be shifted to an important committee whose functioning is crucial for the corporation.

The Congress seems inclined to deny the BJP chairmanship of any committee feeling their performance in the House has been “obstructionist” and devoid of constructive criticism as had been promised by them.



VRS being ‘forced’ on Puncom staff
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 10
Uncertainty and bitterness looms large at various offices of Punjab Communications Limited (Puncom) here with a large number of employees today alleging that the management was pressurising them to avail themselves of the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) failing which they would be transferred to other Puncom centres in the country.

Surprisingly, the company had received an unprecedented response to the VRS offered by the company. More than 50 per cent of the employees had opted to quit the company in wake of the pending disinvestment by government.

Sources in the company have pointed out that although the last date for the VRS offer was February 7, the management has spread the word around that the applications will be accepted till February 14. “The management is today focussing on women employees many of whom have not availed themselves of the VRS. They are being told that they will be transferred to Baddi, where Puncom has a site coming up in case they do not offer to quit,” stated an employee on condition of anonymity. Other employees confirmed that the company is resorting to pressure tactics and some employees have been told that they will be sent to places like Jharkhand, Kolkata, etc.

Sources also stated that over 80 applications of those who had opted for voluntary retirement were rejected today. “The head of departments are keeping those whom they want and shunting out others,” said an employee. The golden figure that the management is trying to achieve is 250 employees. “After which it might actually drop the idea of disinvestment and reach a compromise-of-sorts with the Punjab State Electronic Development and Production Corporation (ECP),” added another employee.

Over 400 employees, out of the total 760 employees eligible for the VRS, had offered to leave the company. Although the exact date of relief is different for every employee in accordance with his or her option, sources stated that the first set of over 100 employees left today. Puncom is one of the five companies scheduled for disinvestment by the Punjab Government. 



Godara’s kin held for theft 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 10
The police has arrested Manoj Pal, a relative of former Haryana Home Minister, Mani Ram Godara, and two others on charges of theft and trespassing.
The accused was booked by the police yesterday on the complaint of his landlord, Mr Manishwar Puri, a resident of Chandigarh. The latter has accused Manoj Pal of stealing goods worth Rs 30,000 from his house in Sector 6, after breaking a lock of the room where these goods were stored.

It is learnt that Manoj Pal had rented a house in Sector 6 here from the complainant almost two years ago. The FIR registered at Sector 5 Police Station says that while a major portion of the house had been rented out to Manoj Pal, a small portion had been retained by the owner. Electrical equipment like geysers, ceiling fans, clothes, bedding etc. had been stored by the complainant in this room. The accused had allegedly also not paid the rent to the landlord for the past more than one year.

The complainant Pal vacated the house two days ago, he took away the goods lying in this room. His servants , Narain and Prem, have also been booked by the police and arrested.

It may be mentioned that Manoj Pal was accused of being involved in a murder of a student of Panjab University near Hotel Mount View in Sector 10, Chandigarh, in 1997. He was, however, acquitted of the charges in July 2001. Later, his name also figured in the Shimla girl rape case, involving senior IAS officer, N.K. Jain. The Chandigarh police, in its investigation of the rape case, had said Manoj Pal was also involved in hatching the conspiracy of implicating businessman, M.K. Jain , with the IAS officer, while the two were lodged in Burail Jail. 



Police remand for 4 bookies
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh February 10
Four persons — Rahul Sofat, Rishi Goyal, Ravi Kumar and Rajiv— arrested by the UT police for their alleged involvement in betting on first World Cup cricket match were today remanded in police custody by a local court. The four suspects were produced in the court of UT Judicial Magistrate(First Class), Ms Sangeeta Rai Sachdeva, in the afternoon who remanded them in police custody till February 14.

The UT police had sought the police custody of the suspects on the ground that the custody of the suspects were required to know the whereabouts of the other persons involved in the case and to arrest them. The police also sought the custody of the accused to know more details about the betting racket.

The UT police had arrested the four suspects for betting on cricket matches being played during the World Cup in South Africa on February 9. These persons were getting inputs from punters and operating through computers, mobile phones and television from a house in Sector 38.

According to the police the suspects were using two mobile phones to get minute-by-minute details of the match and the information was being relayed through audio speakers. Another six mobile phones were being used for betting. The clients had betted for Rs 8.50 lakh — Rs 3.25 lakh for South Africa and Rs 5.45 lakh for West Indies. The police had also recovered a television, a cassette recorder, six mobile phones and some electronic gadgets being used by the suspects.Back


Testing times for parents, teachers
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, February 9
Though the ICC World Cup-2003 has infused a lot of euphoria and enthusiasm among the cricket lovers, it has also become a bone of contention in those families whose wards are preparing for the final examination of their respective classes.

In Chandigarh and its nearby towns like Patiala, Ambala, Ropar, SAS Nagar, Panchkula, it is the time for the students to study. The next 42 days would give sleepless nights to the parents and to some extent the teachers, since excessive TV viewing would affect the performance of the students in the final examination.

While the Board examination for Class VIII has already begun, the final examinations for classes X and XII will begin next month. Then there are students who are preparing for various competitive examinations and for them, unless they resist the lure of watching the World Cup on their television sets, it will be taxing for their career. For other classes also, the finals examinations throughout India are held during February and March.

Mr Harminder Singh Sekhon, a parent and resident of SAS Nagar, while talking with this correspondent, said he was more worried about his son’s (in Class X) performance than his daughter’s (in Class VIII), since boys were more inclined to watch matches.

Shefali Dhillon, a Class XI student of Vivek High School, Sector 38, said it was her first year in psychology and was least interested in watching cricket. She said during her school days, it use to be quite boring to hear cricket buzz everywhere.

Mr D.S. Bedi, Director Principal of Shivalik Public schools, said the schedule and the dates of the World Cup were made public well in advance. He said in India, the final examinations were usually held during this time of the year and it was just a coincidence that the World Cup was being held at the same period. But he said it was the responsibility of the students and parents to lay emphasis on studies.



STSE examinees apprehensive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The delay in the announcement of result of the State Talent Search Examination (STSE) held here on November 24, last year has made the students apprehensive. In a communication to the TNS today, 20 students, who had taken the examination, cited example of the STSE examination conducted by Punjab, the result of which had been announced already and the successful candidates had started preparations for the national examination(NTSE).

They said they had appeared in the examination from the centre at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46. Describing what happened at the centre, the students alleged that while the time period for the scholastic aptitude paper was one and a half hour (11 am to 12.30 pm), it was reduced by half hour without giving any prior intimation to students. The invigilators started snatching the papers after one hour.

However, following protests by students, the Vice Principal of the school called up the State Institute of Education, Chandigarh, following which the answer sheets were returned to the students. However, by that time some of the students had already left. Moreover, the answer sheets which were returned to the students were also found to be in bad shape.

The students’ request for new answer sheets were turned down by the authorities and the students had to make do with whatever was supplied to them. They had to cut the wrong answers and write the correct answers which made the answer sheets look quite messy. The school authorities ensured the students that the answer sheets would be accepted but the aspirants are not convinced about it.



P.P. Singh deposes before police
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh/Hoshiarpur, February 10
The controversial official of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), Mr P.P. Singh, and his lawyer wife, Ms Madhu Singh, again appeared before the Hoshiarpur (Punjab) police today, as part of police investigation into the alleged possession of Rs 1 crore as black money. The mystery of the money was yet to be solved. Earlier, after securing interim bail from a local court of Hoshiarpur, they had deposed before the police last Tuesday.

The Hoshiarpur police had claimed to have unearthed a case of accumulating wealth disproportionate to the known sources of income belonging to Mr P.P. Singh on the disclosure by Balbir, a former servant of Lieut-Col G.S. Cheema, from whom Rs 5 lakh, papers of two plots, a truck and few gold ornaments amounting to Rs 18 lakhs, were recovered. But the rest of the amount, Rs 82 lakh, was yet to be recovered.

While talking to our correspondent, Mr P.P. Singh and his wife refuted the charges of their involvement in the case. They admitted that Sudha Gill, owner of a boutique in Sector-16, Chandigarh, from whom the empty trunk was recovered, was known to them. “We used to get the clothes of our children stitched from her when she was working as an ad hoc employee in the Sewing and Tailoring School of Chandigarh in 1993-94,” the couple said.

They said Sudha became close to them and often used to visit their official residence in Sector-16. In 1998, she opened her boutique in the house of the Col G.S. Cheema in Sector-16. Before shifting to another house in Sector-35, they gave an old empty iron trunk to Sudha on her request for her domestic use. Mr P.P. Singh said they had shifted four houses ever since they left Sector-16. Presently, they were living in Sector-15.

They questioned the validity of the allegation of stashing Rs 1 crore cash in an iron trunk that was kept for years in a boutique having many glass windowpanes and doors. Moreover, a large number of people used to visit the boutique daily. He alleged that the money belonged to Lieut-Col G.S. Cheema who was court Marshalled from Army in 1995-96 on charges of embezzlement of defence funds in an oil scam when posted at Leh.

Mr P.P. Singh and his wife further said they were fully cooperating with the police to solve the mystery of Rs 1 crore. However, they alleged that they were being mentally harassed by the police during cross-examination of their statements already recorded before the police on February 4.

Meanwhile, the couple appeared before the SP (Detective), Mr Upinderjit Singh Ghumman, who cross-examined their statements. He demanded the lists of properties owned by them and their close relations for further verifications. The SP said the case was yet to be solved and it would take few more days to come to any conclusion. “Investigations were still on and I had asked the couple to disclose their sources of income to the police at the earliest”, Mr Ghumman added. 



Mahila Congress conference on March 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The Mahila Congress plans to organise a women’s conference here on the occasion of “mahila divas” on March 8. The All-India Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, will be invited to preside over the conference, which will be jointly organised by the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh units of the party.

This was announced here today by the general secretary of the Mahila Congress, Ms Alka Lamba, who is in charge of the party affairs in Haryana. She was talking to newsmen after presiding over a meeting of the presidents of the district and block units of the Haryana Mahila Congress. She was accompanied by Mrs Anita Yadav, president of the state unit.

Ms Lamba said it had been decided to organise a leadership training programme in the state to prepare women to take 33 per cent seats in Parliament, the Assembly and the panchayati raj institutions, besides the urban civic bodies. Rallies would also be organised in at least two blocks each week to highlight the “anti-people” policies of the Chautala government.

Admitting factionalism in the Haryana Congress, Ms Lamba said she would urge Mrs Gandhi to direct all leaders to participate in the state-level programmes. She said in case a prominent leader abstained from such a programme without a valid reason, action should be taken against him. She said factionalism could endanger the fortunes of any political party.



Command Hospital’s new culture
Pritam Bhullar

When new work culture was started at the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, in May last, it looked doubtful whether the tempo of work to the satisfaction of the patient would be maintained as a long-term measure. Now, it seems that this work culture has been institutionalised by the hospital.

Maj-Gen B. Sadananda, Commandant of the hospital, who is the architect of this culture, told this writer: “Problems will not come to you, you have to go to them to sort them out on the spot”. He comes to the hospital daily at 7.15 a.m. From 9 a.m. to 1.45 p.m., he continues to move around in the hospital, goes to every department and talks to patients at the OPD.

The daily average patient-load of this hospital is 1000 outpatients, of which 650-700 patients come for medical check-up and collection of medicines. On an average, 300-350 patients come for investigations, blood and other tests and specialised examination. All patients leave the hospital after finishing the examinations with reports and medicines the same day.

A medical officer sits at the inquiry counter as Public Relations Officer (PRO). He answers all queries. He also makes and signs prescription slips for chronic patients who come to the hospital only for collection of medicines. After this, it takes them about 10 minutes to collect their medicines.

Today, the Command Hospital has almost all super-specialities, whereas about 10 years ago it had only one super-speciality — reconstructive surgery — to which a burn centre has been added.

Training for peacekeeping

India has been a regular contributor of troops to the UN peacekeeping operations eversince the United Nations (UN) came into being in 1948. At present, India with more than 6,000 troops deployed all over the world, is the largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping missions.

The experience of these operations made us realise over the years that some systematic training was essential for troops, unit commanders, staff officers and military observers before they are sent for these missions. This realisation resulted in the setting up of the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) by the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs in September, 2000.

The units, which are nominated for the UN missions, are concentrated at Delhi for six months for reorientation training to suit multinational requirement. They are also acquainted with the nature of the conflict, history of the countries where they are to be deployed, their traditions and the peacekeeping techniques.

The centre also conducts international, bilateral and national seminars and imparts training capsules for commanders, staff officers and military observers of various countries contributing troops to the UN missions.


Even since the Ex-servicemen Helpline at Chandi Mandir, ex-servicemen have been helped in all their problems. Now Ex-Servicemen Helpline has started functioning at Bathinda, Jalandhar and Ambala.



The first trade directory of Chandigarh
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Firsts have always had a special place in history. The first climb of Mount Everest, the first man in space, the first civilisation, the first President and so on. Chandigarh, too, has its set of firsts. Among these is the first trade directory published by some shopkeepers in the city in the early 70s.

The first trade directory of the city is now a source of history giving vital information about the commercial and social life of the city. It talks of an era gone by when most traders who had come here were born in Pakistan and started their business in Sector 7, 22, 18, 19, 27 and 17. Their telephone numbers were five digits and of course there were no mobiles. There were no southern sectors and Chandigarh ended at the Dakshin Marg.

It was an era when products we have only heard of like Murphy Radios were being sold by Lakhanpal Pvt. Limited on Madhya Marg, Sector 7, and Mecan batteries by another shopowner in Sector 27. Rajdoot motor cycles were being sold from the British Motor Car Company in Sector 7. Refrigerators like Allwyn, Gem, Kelvinator and Leonard were advertised by different shopowners along with Kassel fans.

Before the well-known chains of South Indian food joints came into the city, there was the famous Hotel de kerela in Sector 27, the hottest meeting point in the city, and Chandi Studios, now closed, was the place mom and dad took the children to click family photographs.

Another interesting entry is by a shop called Beeba Bakers and Confectioners which states, “Please bring your own material to prepare sweet and saltish biscuits”. Many of the shops, restaurants and business houses having faced the vagaries of time continue to be established in the city. Kwality restaurant, Lyon’s, the Indian Coffee House being some of them. But none really knows what became of restaurants like Mombasa restaurant and the Crash barbeque in Sector 17. A Science and Technology Institute in Sector 19 advertised for postal courses at low costs for AMIE and UPSC examination. The trade directory does not have anything by the name of card shops or gift shops or fast food joints or discos.

Brought out in 1974 or thereabouts, (the Directory does not mention the year of its publication), the 90-page trade directory did not have anything to do with the Chandigarh Administration. It was a completely private venture undertaken by a group of industrialists and shopowners who wanted the directory for their own convenience. The Directory was edited by Ravinder N. Anil and was helped in his work by Raj Kumar and Ravinder Kumar, the two associate editors. Santosh Mahajan was the business manager and Krishna Dogra was the general manager.

The former Haryana Chief Secretary, Mr B.S. Ojha was the then Home Secretary of Chandigarh. Writing the introduction to the directory, he mentioned the report submitted in June, 1972, by the joint institutional study team on the industrial potential survey of the union territory of Chandigarh. “There are many favourable factors here for development of electronic instruments and other high skilled precision industries. The team has also suggested the setting up of a large number of ancillary units for meeting the requirements of the tractor and automobile manufacturing units which are likely to come up in the near future in Mohali and Panchkula areas of Punjab and Haryana, adjoining Chandigarh. With the commencement of the manufacture of tractors at Pinjore by the Hindustan Machine Tools Ltd and at Mohali by the Punjab Tractors Limited, it is expected that there will be great clamour for setting up units ancillary to the tractor industry. Already the demand for industrial plots and buildup industrial sheds is growing. To meet this demand, Chandigarh Administration has under consideration at present scheme for the establishment of an industrial estate.”

Chandigarh’s Who’s Who

The most interesting part of the directory, at least for the historian, are the last few pages of ‘Who is Who in Chandigarh Trade’. One finds names of persons like J.R. Grover of Modella Blankets; S.P. Handa of Chandi Studio; R.K. Saboo, who was then the Director of Groz Beckert. A short biography of the industrialist was also given. Writing about J.S. Dugal, partner, Style Furnishers, in Sector 17, the directory notes, “He was born in Lahore in 1938 and married in 1965. He studied mechanical engineering in USA for five years. He is a member of the Chandigarh Club. He toured USA and many other countries. His main hobby is photography. He resides in House Number 35 Sector 5, Chandigarh.” About A.N. Marwah, “He is popularly called Chacha Amarnath. Born in Skargy, Ladakh, in 1913, he married Om Kumari in 1933. He was the president of Shastri Market Welfare Society. He loves reading and resides in 161, Sector 22.”



MC workers rally today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The Coordination Committee of the Government and MC Employees and Workers UT here will tomorrow organise a sit-in at Matka Chowk to protest against the Administration’s refusal to accept their long-pending demands.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Corporation Road Workers Union held a rally in front of the M.C. Stores, Sector 44 and 29 B to mobilise workers for the dharna at the Matka Chowk. The rally was addressed by the Co-ordination Committee of the Government and MC Employees and Workers UT Chandigarh Co-Convener Rakesh Kumar and Municipal Corporation Road Workers Union President P. Kamraj.

The UT Powermen Union, today decided to observe dharnas on February 18 and February 25 to press for acceptance of their demands.

An emergency meeting of the working committee of the Powermen Union was held here today under the chairmanship of Pandit Kasturi Lal to decide the course of action.



1500 kundi connections cut off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The Electricity Department, division number 2, today removed 1500 kundi connections from Vikas Nagar and pocket four of Manimajra.
The campaign was smooth and did not meet any resistance, the operation in charge, Executive Engineer D.P. said here today in a statement. The department has been carrying out periodical campaigns only to see kundi connections back in large number after sometimes.

The campaign would be carried out in other localities, an official note said here today.


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