L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Admn to fumigate areas to check dengue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
To keep a check on the spread of dengue, the District Administration has chalked out a schedule for repeated fumigation in around six dozen localities, which would commence on October 31 and continue till November 17.

The fumigation would be carried out in these localities thrice with a gap of one weak to completely eradicate mosquitoes that spread dengue. Outlining the programme, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, said adequate number of fumigation machines had been put in place by the Municipal Corporation for the purpose. He said in the first phase, colonies from where dengue cases had been reported would be covered. Besides, public places, including bus station, cinemas, major markets, schools and colleges, Rakh Bagh, Rose Garden and other public parks, would be covered.

The Deputy Commissioner appealed the people to cooperate with the teams during their visit and asked them to keep doors and windows of their houses open during the time of fumigation so that mosquitoes could be cleared effectively. He said in case fumigation teams failed to visit the areas as per schedule, the residents of the locality should contact any of the three officers deputed to monitor the anti-dengue campaign. They are: Mr Prem Chand, SDM (East) — 2400150; Mr Harjinder Singh, Joint Commissioner — 2452907; and Mr S.N. Tiwari, Civil Surgeon — 2444193. As per the schedule, the fumigation would be done on October 31, November 7 and November 14 at Punjab Agriculture University, Rakh Bagh, Rose Garden, Mini Secretariat, Ferozepore Road, Gurdev Nagar, Leisure Valley, Sarabha Nagar, Sarabha Nargar Market, BRS Nagar, Ghumar Mandi, Model Town Market, Abdullahpur Basti, bus stand, Shastri Nagar, Model Town, Model Gram and cinema halls falling in these areas. On October 31, November 3 and November 7 the fumigation will be carried out at Civil Hospital, CMC, DMC, Oswal Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, ESI Hospital, railway station and cinema halls falling these areas.

On November 1, November 8 and November 15 it will be done at Old Sabzi Mandi, New Sabzi Mandi, Saleem Tabri, Arjun Nagar, Ashok Nagar, New Ashok Nagar, New Madho Puri, Shiv Puri, New Shiv Puri, Basti Jodhewal, areas along Buddha Nala, Industrial Area A and B, Dholewal Chowk, Janta Nagar, Jalmalpur, Sherpur Kalan and Khurd, Tajpur road and cinema halls falling in these areas. On November 2, November 9 and November 16 the teams will visit Dugri, Haibowal Kalan and Khurd, Jawind Vihar, Hargobind Nagar, Pritam Nagar, Dairy Complex, Haibowal, Kundan Puri, Chander Nagar, Tagore Nagar, Bhora, Giaspura, Shimla Puri and cinema halls falling in these areas and on November 3, November 10 and November 17 Samrala Chowk, Transport Nagar, Janak Puri, Hargobind Nagar, Kidwai Nagar, Mini Rose Garden, Islam Ganj, Sabzi Mandi, near Division No. 3, Khud Mohalla, Field Ganj, Lakkar Bazaar, Gur Mandi, Chaura Bazaar, Clock Tower, Bhadaur House, Chhawani Mohalla, Bindranban road and cinema halls falling in these areas will be fumigated.

Mr Verma said a meeting of principals of various colleges and schools of the city would be organised tomorrow to ask them to educate students in morning assemblies regarding the preventive measures and to send the message to their homes to make the anti-dengue campaign more effective.



Portion of marriage palace pulled down
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
A demolition team of the building branch of the Municipal Corporation demolished a wall and part of a structure in a marriage palace on the Ferozepore road here late last evening. The MC officials claimed that the structure and the wall were being constructed in violation of the building norms while the owner of the building contested this charge.

The MC team descended on Shahnshah Palace and razed portion of the outer wall, allegedly being constructed without seeking any approval necessary under the building bylaws.

A portion of another structure in the complex, comprising two rooms, was also pulled down since the extra coverage would curtail the mandatory 50 per cent open space, required within the marriage palaces, the MC officials maintained.

Even as the owner of the marriage palace Mr Kirpal Singh Aujla gave a written undertaking that all violations would be cleared at their own level within 24 hours, he also protested against the MC action, which he described as hasty and unwarranted. He said the MC had served no prior notice to him about the violations. “Without serving any notice for alleged violations, the MC staff made a sudden appearance and straight away started demolishing the wall and the portion of rooms.” Mr Aujla further maintained that he had committed no violation of the building bylaws.



Johl for radical changes in education, health systems
Kuldip Bhatia

Dr S.S. Johl delivers the Joginder Pal Pandey Oration in Dumra Auditorium of the DMCH
Dr S.S. Johl delivers the Joginder Pal Pandey Oration in Dumra Auditorium of the DMCH in Ludhiana on Thursday. — Photo  by I.V

Ludhiana, October 30
Noted farm economist and vice-chairman of the Punjab State Planning Board, Dr S.S. Johl, today made a strong plea for radical changes in the education system and the health and medical system, which he felt had gone out of the reach of the common people. He said the economic, social and cultural development of a society was a conjunctive process that could not be pursued without a holistic approach. These social (education and health) indicators determined the pace of economic growth and spread of development and welfare to society and were the primary responsibilities of a welfare state

He was delivering the sixth Joginder Pal Pandey Oration on “When the state abdicates its responsibilities in social sector”, jointly organised by the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) and the Nehru Sidhant Kendra Trust at Dumra Auditorium here.

Dr Johl observed that although the state was constitutionally obliged to provide universal free education to the children up to the age of 16 years, the nation had failed to fulfil this obligation. As a result, the school education had virtually become a scandal and had been hijacked by the rich, leaving the poor high and dry. This development had led to suboptimal growth of the economy and highly skew distribution of incomes and development benefits.

“The huge gap between so called public school and government schools has created a situation in which the rich and educated families, predominantly urban, get their children admitted to the public schools after paying hefty donations and what matters for the public schools is the money, though wards of educated families are preferred, because that lightens the burden of teachers.”

He said even though these public schools turn the students into robots and distort their personalities, besides burdening them with back-breaking satchels, the students were also enabled to perform well in the mechanically designed entrance tests for professional and higher education. For those rich class students, who could not get to these higher and professional colleges and universities on merit, the provision of paid seats and NRI quotas came handy.

“In stark contrast, for the large majority of the poor, specially those living in the rural areas, there is no other alternative but to send their wards to the government schools, which may be doing anything but teaching. These schools have a very high drop out rate and even those who pass, have no quality mark on them for getting to higher education. It is no surprise, therefore, if today, not to speak of medical or engineering colleges, but even in agricultural universities, more than 95 per cent of the students come from urban and non-farming families.”

Focussing on a similarly disastrous situation prevailing in health and medical services, Dr Johl remarked that these had gone out of reach for the poor and particularly the rural population had almost been left out of the health and medical facilities. The government health centres and hospitals were not sensitive enough to the needs of these sections despite the fact that budget provisions in this sector had been reasonably adequate. The root cause of the malaise, he added, lied in the medical education, which had been senselessly commercialised.

“On paid seats or NRI quota, if a medical student has to incur Rs 50 to 60 lakh, how is he expected to serve the poor,” he wondered. “Not only his costs will be high, he may develop the inclination of unethical practices. Is it not true that with some honourable exceptions, doctors prescribe medical tests, scannings etc which are often not required ?”

Dr Johl made a fervent plea for making school education absolute and sole responsibility of the government and elimination of private institutions from the field, making school education free and of uniform standard, establishment of schools on habitat basis and recognition of school education as a birth right of every child. Advocating abolition of examinations for promotion to the higher classes upto elementary level, he said the tests or examinations should become a tool of learning and should become an integral part to teaching, not the basis for promotion to next class.

The education system should envisage a talent hunt for professional and technical education at the end of elementary schooling and such selected talented students should be provided more rigorous education in few special high and higher secondary schools to prepare them for professional and technical or specialised education. He strongly felt that as far as higher education was concerned, it was not a birth right and here merit alone should count. There ought to be a single general entrance test for all the students in the state and private institutions should be allowed to cater to the needs of professional and technical education but these institutions should be standing on their own academic merit and generating resources at their own level with some kind of government support for infrastructure development.

Earlier, Dr Daljit Singh, officiating Principal, DMCH, delivered the welcome address. Mr Navin Pandey, grandson of late Joginder Pal Pandey, spoke on the works and achievements of the great leader. Dr Rajoo Singh Chhina, Medical Superintendent, DMCH, introduced the chief guest to the audience. Mr D.V. Bector, vice-president, managing society of the DMCH, and Mr Deepak Pandey, son of late Joginder Pal Pandey, awarded a medal to Dr Johl. Mr Amrit Nagpal, secretary, managing society, DMCH, Mr Balraj Kumar, Mr Gian Chand Dhawan, Mr H.D. Dumra, members, managing society of the DMCH, Swami Adhyatamanand, a renowned spiritualist, Mr Rakesh Pandey, Dr L.S. Chawla, Dr S.B. Khurana, former principals of the DMCH were also present at the occasion.

Mr Deepak Pandey presented a scroll of honour and a cheque for Rs 50,000 to Dr Johl.



Proposal to shift Sarabha’s statue
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
The general house of the Municipal Corporation will meet after a gap of nearly four months here tomorrow. It will discuss, among several other proposals, the shifting of the statue of martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha from Clock Tower Chowk for the period the work on elevated road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema is going on.

According to a note put up by the Superintending Engineer (B&R) before the house, the statue, standing in the middle of the intersection, is hindering the construction work and deployment of heavy machinery. Therefore, it needs to be temporarily shifted to some other place. Once the project is complete, it can be reinstalled at the same place under the elevated road with certain modifications.

The MC House can also approve the shifting of the statue to some other place permanently, if so desired, adds the note.

Another issue that will come up for discussion relates to the Rs 15-crore indoor stadium project. The MC had invited tenders for the work in 1999 and the project has been hanging fire since then for one or the other reason. First of all the stadium was proposed to be constructed along the Pakhowal road, but the site was shifted to City Centre. However, the government refused to approve the change of site saying ‘it was not in the public interest’.

Showing undue haste, the MC initiated the move to construct the stadium at Pakhowal village in an area of 2.33 acre. It was proposed to entrust the work to the lowest bidder from among the tenders received four years ago. It was alleged that the lowest bidder, a reputed and ‘well connected’ builder was putting pressure on the political leadership in the civic body to see the project through. The final acceptance of the project, including awarding the work on the basis of old tenders, would, however, had to be approved by the state government.

Among many other proposals to be discussed in the meeting include approval of the auction of parking lot in Feroze Gandhi Market, seeking private participation in procurement of tree guards renaming Habib Ganj locality as Rishi Valmiki Nagar, engaging revenue staff to work out compensation for land acquired for Budha Nullah Road and construction of overbridges at Gill Road, Sherpur Chowk, Basti Jodhewal Chowk and Samrala Chowk.



Raw material scarcity irks industry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has decried the non-availability of raw material at competitive prices which was adversely affecting a sizeable segment of engineering industry in the city and making things more difficult for crisis-ridden units.

The CICU president, Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, said in a statement here today that the engineering industry in the state, particularly in the city, had been deprived of the integral component of easy availability of raw material at reasonable prices.

Besides an unprecedented hike in the prices of iron and steel, a massive increase in the prices of nickel had disturbed the cycle and cycle parts industry.

The nickel prices were continuing to rise in the international market with the rates shooting up to $ 11570 per MT in middle of October from $ 8400 per MT prevailing in August, 2003.

With the addition of the custom duty component of 32.7 per cent on import of nickel, the prices virtually become prohibitive and the proportionate increase in the cost of finished goods rendered the industry incompetitive, both in the domestic and international market.

Mr Pardhan urged the Union Finance Ministry to intervene and initiate protective measures to save the engineering industry, particularly the cycle and cycle parts units from annihilation.

The government ought to slash the rates of custom duty on nickel without any further delay so that the Indian engineering industry could remain competitive in the global market. Now, how the government reacts to the demand, only the coming days will tell.



PAU walkers a scared lot 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
The Ludhiana police has remained virtually clueless nearly three weeks after two women walkers were waylaid by goons on the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) campus in an apparent bid to rob and molest them. The incident that nearly went unreported, except for mere entries in the police records, has remained a serious cause for concern to the daily walkers. With no significant breakthrough yet, many young girls and old couples have abandoned the campus.

The incident took place in the second week of October, when two women walkers on the campus were accosted by an unknown person, who took them by surprise and threw red chilly powder into their eyes, before decamping with a mobile phone and some valuables. The women were so shocked by the act that by the time they could react, the culprit had vanished. But for the persuasion from the family of one of the women to report the incident to the police, the occurrence would have gone unreported.

Several such incidents have come to light, but most of them go unreported as those targeted include girls and women from well to do families, who do not wish to come into the limelight. Police sources believe that at least six incidents of similar nature involving morning or evening walkers occur every month. The victims are carefully chosen from among those who are walking away from the crowds.

A regular at the PAU said, “The offenders generally attack women who are alone or the elderly who are unable to respond quickly”. Some feel that in a few cases some students of the university may be involved as in the past, the police have traced thefts of car stereos, etc from outside the university gate to some students.

The allegation is supported by the fact that in a recent incident of a similar nature, the university authorities are learnt to have identified some postgraduate students, who were involved in a recent molestation bid on an evening walker. The culprits in this case were identified owing to a stepped up vigil by the university authorities. After being identified, the file pertaining to the case involving university students is pending before the Dean Students Welfare (DSW), who it is said wants to be sure about the involvements of the students, before recommending a strict action.

When contacted, a senior police official denied knowledge about any case of molestation or theft on or around the PAU campus. “I am not aware on any such incident, but I will see if any complaints have been registered”.

In another incident that took place just outside the university in Kitchlu Nagar, some miscreants snatched a mobile phone of a bank employee who was returning from his evening walk. When he raised an alarm, the mobile snatcher simply disappeared in the bylanes of the neighbouring localities.

Keeping in view such incidents, the PAU authorities had earlier this month made identity cards of all regular walkers on the campus. Even after the recent cases were reported, the PAU has increased the strength of security personnel on the campus who are on the lookout for all those anti-social elements. 



Bungling in bank elections feared
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, October 30
A member of the SAD working committee, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, has expressed fear that irregularities might be committed in the elections of the Board of Directors of Ludhiana Central Cooperative Bank, scheduled to be held on November 10.

Mr Atwal, who was here recently for an election campaign of the SAD candidate from Zone 7 (Samrala), Mr Charanjit Singh Lakhowal, alleged that the state government was making all-out efforts to win the elections. “As October 31 is the deadline for submitting proxy voting, inspectors of the Cooperative Department are not attesting the resolutions of SAD-supported societies”, he stated.

Mr Atwal said he had informed the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner in this regard, but no action had been taken.

A former Chairman of the Machhiwara Market Committee, Mr Gurcharan Singh Mithewal, has condemned the action of Mr Satbir Singh, Inspector, cooperative society, Burj Powat, for allegedly snatching a proceeding book and a copy of resolution of the society. He alleged that the Inspector had handed over the book to a Congress leader.

Even a relative of the SAD candidate, who was working as an Inspector in the Samrala Cooperative Department, was shifted to Ropar yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Congress has so far failed to announce the name of its candidate for the Samrala zone.



Rs 250 cr for link roads’ repair
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
The state government has released Rs 250 crore for the repair of all link roads in the state that were last repaired between 1994 and 1996.
This was disclosed by Mr. Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister while interacting with mediamen after laying the foundation stone of Rs 302.87 lakh project for the development of Khanna- Bhari-Kheri-Sanghol road at Khanna today.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr Bajwa said that the government had launched a major infrastructure upgradation programme that would be completed in the next two and a half years with public-private partnership at a cost of Rs 1500 crore. The total length of 12 corridors, 879 km, would be built. The estimated cost of improvement of these corridors is about Rs 975 crore.

He further said that most major roads of the state would be repaired and widened with the help of private companies on build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis and the users would have to pay a toll tax for usage. He said that the tractor trolleys carrying agriculture produce of the farmers and two wheelers would be, however, be exempted from toll tax.

Referring to the new project, Mr. Bajwa said that this road having a length of 23.27 km from Sanghol to Raipur Majri would serve as an important link road connecting the region with the national highway No. 1. He said Sanghol and Raipur Majri were also important grain markets, which would be connected Asia’s largest market center at Khanna. With the development of this road 27 villages of the area will be benefited, covering a total population of 36,942 people .The project would be completed within six months, he said.

Among others who were present on this occasion included Mr. Shamsher Singh Dullo, MP, Mrs Harbans Kaur Dullo, MLA, and Chairperson, Punjab Forest Corporation, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA, Mr Sadhu Singh Dharmjot, MLA, Amloh, Mr Kapil Dev SSP Khanna, Mr Jaspal Mittal, SDM, Khanna and Mr Mohinder Singh, Chairman, Improvement Trust and Deputy Chairman, Zila Parishad.



India’s roadmap to peace

India’s latest offer to Pakistan to restore air, land and sea links is a product of wisdom and farsight. Pakistan’s response, though late, is by and large positive. One cannot hope for all the wonders in one go. Confidence building measures do work. They work better when people assert their will. Both countries need peace for progress. Both have suffered by wars and war-like situations.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Lahore Bus Journey was honestly undertaken. His speech at Minar-e-Pakistan was a wise step towards building good neighbourly relations. If we cannot choose our neighbours, we have a free choice between war and peace. Ironically, nations have fought wars for peace. Preparedness for defence inspires confidence. It is this confidence which leads to the genuine confidence building measures. If Indian offer is honest, we hope Pakistan is serious.

If relations between the two countries improve Pakistani children shall get best medical aid. Separated families, mostly Muslim, shall reunite, thereby assuring stronger human bonds between the two nations. The 65-plus category of senior citizens of either country will cross the border on foot. Pakistan accepted this proposal unconditionally.

Once Delhi was distant, the coinage took currency: “Hanooz Dilli door ast”. A more lucid and significant truth about Lahore prevails: “He who has not seen (visited) Lahore, is unborn yet”. Seeing Lahore is synonymous with having been born!

Let us hope the confidence building measures materialise. We forecast senior citizens crossing the Attari-Wagha Radcliffe Line — It is a rebirth for those devoid of Lahore-darshan. The robust Punjabi humour will inspire cartoonists to draw figures such as persons wearing thick glasses, adjusting dentures, leaning on canes, jumping and trembling with excitement. Punch-line: Not yet late to be born!

Ludhiana is as much away from Lahore as Agra is from Delhi (120 miles). The distance between Amritsar and Lahore is same as between Ludhiana and Jalandhar (36 miles). Only a small percentage of elderly persons born during the Raj days survives. One born after Independence is 56 plus. Pollution and adulteration, tension and depression are modern demons endangering long life.

While looking hopefully for the restoration of the link, one would like to know the real Lahore, the city it once was. Historically, it passed through four eras — the pre-Islamic period (till 1000 AD), Muslim era (till 1762), Sikh period (till 1849), the British Raj (1849-1947). It is now contemporary drawing room of Pakistan. Geographically, it is located as per Indian classical principles of town-planning i.e. along the riverbank (the Ravi). Culturally, it accepted the best of all traditions retaining its lively character viz singing and dancing, eating and sharing, wrestling and kite flying. Educationally, till 1947 it was the seat of the biggest Indian university, city took pride in having 25 colleges, including the world-famous ones. We will walk to Lahore. Join the caravan of 65 plus, next week.

M.S. Cheema



City ready for Halloween party
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
In the chain of series of Indian festivals like Navratras, Dasehra, Divali, now a western festival has become flavour of the season and that is Halloween. It is different from Indian festivals as ‘Halloween’ is fraught with traditions from around the world. It is the time of ghosts, goblins and gravestones. It was started by the Celts about 2,000 years ago as then New Year was celebrated on November 1.

At the function, people mask themselves to avoid being recognised by the ghosts. This concept is used for fun parties and tomorrow a grand Halloween party would be celebrated at a local hotel. Pumpkins cut into ghoulish shapes and lit with candles, eerie music, waiters dressed as ghosts, blue lights, atmosphere thickened with artificial smoke, hideous laughter are the perfect setting of Halloween party.

People dress up in masks in order to deceive the ghosts and it adds to the spirit of the party. Chef Sadhanshu and his team at the hotel were busy carving pumpkins into horrible-looking figures and sticking grapes into their eyes to make them look even more devlish. Sadhanshu said pumpkins were cut into horrible shapes as Celtic people thought that they would hide behind the pumpkins and deceive the ghosts on the last day of the year so that they could enter the new year safely.

Halloween party is not for faint hearted. Those who love things extraordinary have something to look forward tomorrow.



Two robbers held
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 30
The local police yesterday arrested two alleged scooter-borne robbers — Gurpreet Singh Raju and Ranjeet Singh, both residents of Dalip Nagar — according to police sources here today.

In his complaint, Mr Heera Lal, a trader on Gaushala Road, had alleged that the two had tried to snatch a bag containing cash at knife-point on Tuesday at 10 pm. He raised the alarm but the robbers managed to escape on the scooter after inflecting injuries on his body. He had alighted from the bus when the incident took place.

The bag contained bank drafts worth Rs 1.75 lakh and Rs 25,000 in cash, which the trader had brought from his firm in Ludhiana.



Exotic fruits flood local market
Our Correspondent

Grapes from Australia are the flavour of wedding parties this season
Grapes from Australia are the flavour of wedding parties this season. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, October 30
Black and wine coloured seedless grapes, almost as big as Indian goose berries, from Australia have captured the fancy of caterers for marriage parties. Guests make a beeline for the special table serving exotic fruits imported from Australia and New Zealand. These fruits are becoming popular among upper-class city residents.

Mr Amarvir Singh, general secretary of the Punjab State Fruit and Vegetable Association, says these fruits reach here in perfect condition although these are imported from far off places. In spite of high prices, these fruits find favour with people, he adds.

Grapes from Australia are selling for Rs 1,300 per 10 kg in the wholesale market. These sell at Rs 200 per kg in the retail market. Maltas from Australia are also becoming popular.

Those who feel weak after summer heat are advised to consume juicy marsh mallows. These are imported from Afghanistan.

Kiwis, another Vitamin C rich fruit, is imported from New Zealand. Cherries are available in the market at Rs 4,000 for 10 kg. They are imported from Australia on demand. Litchis from New Zealand are available even in half-kg pouches. Plums from Australia can be found at fruit shops at Maliganj, Model Town, Kailash Cinema and Ghumarmandi areas.

Dates of different kinds can also be found in the market. These are available for any thing from Rs 20 to Rs 80 per kg. Australian guavas are also there to tickle your taste buds. Kandhari pomegranates have also started appearing in the market.

Thanks to globalisation, the world has shrunk and things, including fruits, that seemed far away are now available at our doorsteps.



Marginal rise in paddy procurement
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
There has been a marginal increase in the amount of paddy procurement from various mandis of Ludhiana district this year.
Stating this in a press note, Ms Simarjot Kaur, District Food Supply Controller, said that nearly 15,48,547 metric tonnes of paddy had been procured by different agencies till yesterday. In contrast, 13,96,321 metric tonnes of paddy had been procured till this time during the previous year. She said the purchase was being done at the prices set by the government.

The Controller said that 2,38,691 metric tonnes of paddy had been taken by the Food and Civil Supply Department. The Markfed had taken 2,23,211 metric tonnes of rice. Punjab Agro had taken a share of 1,37,552 metric tonnes from the mandis and the Food Corporation of India had purchased 2,09,285 metric tonnes of paddy. She said that other traders had purchased paddy to the tune of 3,28,092 metric tonnes of rice this time.

Ms Simarjot Kaur said that Rs 590.64 crore had already been paid to the farmers. She said that this was possible only due to speedy methods being adopted by the department in the procurement and lifting of paddy. She said that the arrival of paddy was still on in the mandis as on Tuesday alone, 30,049 metric tonnes of paddy had arrived in different mandis of the district.


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