C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kamlesh elected city Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Putting to rest the controversy regarding her candidature, Mrs Kamlesh was unanimously elected as the Mayor of the city here today. This year the post was reserved for the Scheduled Caste category.

The post of the Senior Deputy Mayor saw a direct contest between Mr Pradeep Chhabra, the Congress candidate and Mr Rajesh Gupta, the Bhartiya Janata Party candidate. Mr Chhabra was declared elected. Mrs Geeta Rani was unanimously re-elected as the Deputy Mayor. The entire team of office-bearers belong to the Congress.

The BJP-SAD alliance had objected to Mrs Kamlesh contesting for the post of the Mayor. It was alleged that her husband and his uncle were involved in a sanitation scheme being sponsored by the corporation. They had claimed that she did not “qualify to be a Mayor under Section 13”.

The secretary of the corporation in a letter to the protesting councillor said the case "has been considered and filed". It has been pointed out that there was no provision for its consideration under the existing sections of the Municipal Corporation Act. Mrs Kamla Sharma, a BJP councillor, said they had filed their objections and had also got a reply which left no scope for any protest in the House today.

The election was held in the presence of 29 councillors. The election was presided over by Mr Kulwant Singh Kalson, secretary of the corporation.

For the post of the Senior Deputy Mayor as many as 22 votes were cast in favour of Mr Chhabra and seven in favour of Mr Gupta. More than 50 Congress supporters waited outside the MC house for the results while the election process was going on. Slogans of “Congress zindabad” and “Kamlesh zindabad” rent the air when she came out of the House following the election.

She was garlanded by her party supporters in her new office. Besides Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, who is a member of the corporation, Mr Vinod Sharma, a senior local Congress leader was also present.

Talking to The Tribune, Mrs Kamlesh said: “I will take up the development agenda started by Mrs Lalit Joshi Bhardwaj and Mr Subhash Chawla, former Congress Mayors. Upgradation of roads and markets besides general cleanliness remains on the top of my agenda. All roads will be recarpeted before the year-end. UT villages and colonies are important areas where corporation attention was needed”.

Mrs Kamlesh said: “one of my priority area at the moment is the implementation of the garbage disposal project for the upgradation of the dumping ground, Mani Majra. Tenders have been invited for a speedy implementation. The project also includes the provision of electricity generation out of waste”.

The Mayor said a “gaushala” at Maloya would be constructed to give shelter to hundreds of stray cattle.


Cops’ gesture moves senior citizens
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Roses, New Year greeting cards and show of concern for your security are not normally expected of the police. But the Police Station (North) staff did exactly that today.

The turnaround in the approach of the police was witnessed when the Police Station (North) SHO Jagvir Singh, 12 beat officers and entire beat staff of around 30 persons visited 76 lonely senior citizens in Sectors 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10 and gave them roses and greeting cards.

The morning call of the police staff touched the old and lonely persons so much that they rang back the beat staff to return greetings, a police personnel said. “A lot of old persons, in fact, told us that they seemed like their sons,” a touched policeman told Chandigarh Tribune. It was very satisfying to receive such a response from the people, he said.

The police personnel spent time with the old and lonely persons, listening to their grievances. They also gave the old persons do's and don’ts regarding their security matters. They were told to keep a servant only after a proper identification from the police and a guarantee from a local person. The police sought a photograph of the servant also. It also suggested to raise the height of the boundary wall to 5 feet and the installation of barbed wires on it. The suggestion to install grilles in house was also made.

The cops asked the people to keep the identification of milkman, cable operator, vegetable vendors apart from those providing services and get these verified from the police. It asked the people to keep their addresses.

Besides, emphasis was laid on lights in lawns and bushes of houses and alarm bells in the rooms of servants and neighbours.

The police gave a list of phone and mobile numbers of the police station and asked the old people to paste these near their beds. It also asked the senior citizens to keep their houses bolted before going to the bed.


Cold brings chilblains blues
Tribune News Service

Symptoms of chilblains

  • Redness of hands and feet
  • Swelling in the toes and fingers.
  • Pain
  • In severe cases ulcers.
  • Doctors' tips
  • Keep hands and feet covered, and wear double gloves while driving.
  • Dip hands and feet in warm water for five minutes, twice a day.
  • Apply moisturiser and rub hands frequently to keep them warm, as this increases blood supply.
  • Avoid cold water, touching cold objects and surfaces.
  • Preferably stay in a warm room.

Chandigarh, January 1
With a sudden dip in mercury, people suffering from chilblains, eczema and dry skin are flocking to skin specialists with problem of swollen hands and feet which in severe cases leads to ulcers.

“A month ago six chilblain patients were coming here daily but with a sudden dip in temperature, this number has shot up to 30,” disclosed Dr S.D. Mehta, skin specialist at the Sector 22 Polyclinic. He said chilblains was a problem where the hands and feet of a person due to abnormal reaction to the cold, become red and swollen, causing pain and itching.

A majority of private skin specialists in the city, too, confirmed that they were getting over six chilblain cases daily, a normal phenomena during winters. When exposed to the bitter cold, hands and feet of a person become red and swollen, which in severe cases could lead to bleeding ulcers.

The first symptoms of chilblains is redness and swelling on the hands and feet, followed by pain and ulcers in severe cases. In some people who react abnormally to the cold, the problem could affect ears and nose, as well, Dr Mehta said.

“People who are abnormally sensitive to the cold develop chilblains not just due to frequent use of cold water but even touching cold objects or moving out in the cold, with bare hands and feet”, explained Dr Mehta. The only way to prevent chilblains from becoming worse is to use only warm water and keep hands and feet covered. Only in severe cases skin cremes and medicines have to be prescribed.

Interestingly, more than half of the patients coming to skin specialists are women as they use cold water for washing clothes and utensils, becoming prone to chilblains. Many of these patients are maid servants, who due to continuous exposure to cold water, come to doctors in a very bad condition. College and schoolchildren, who drive two wheelers without wearing gloves too suffer from chilblains.

Skin specialists point out that the first and foremost precaution one must take against chilblains is to wear gloves and socks, to prevent them from being exposed to the cold weather. “Dipping hands and feet in warm water for five minutes twice a day, followed by application of a moisturiser will help control the problem, “ suggests Dr Mehta. He says dipping hand in warm water will cause itching, which is a sign that the chilblains are healing up.


Cold wave continues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The cold wave continued to affect normal life in the city today. Residents of the city and its surrounding areas once again woke up to a cold morning. Markets wore a deserted look.

The minimum temperature was recorded at 7°C. Yesterday, it was recorded at 6°C.

The Meteorological Department said the cold wave would continue and the night temperature was likely to come down further. The temperature was 12. 6°C during the day.


Mohali petrol stations hit by hike
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 1
With petrol prices touching a new high, business for petrol station owners in the township has reached an all-time low. While petrol stations in Mohali are selling petrol at Rs 37 per litre, petrol station just a few kilometers away falling in Chandigarh are selling it for Rs 34.11 per litre. And if someone chooses to go just a little further to Panchkula, petrol is even cheaper at Rs 33.74 per litre.

Since a cheaper option is available nearby, consumers are giving the petrol stations in Mohali a go-by, preferring petrol station in Chandigarh and Panchkula.

‘‘The difference in rates between Mohali, Chandigarh and Panchkula is harming the oil business not just in the township. The same problem is being witnessed in the entire state.’’ said Mr G.S. Chawla, an owner of petrol stations in Mohali.

Stating that the Punjab Government is charging an additional infrastructure cess of Rs 1 per litre and sales tax is as high as 5 per cent, Mr Chawla explained that many petrol stations in Mohali would face soon face closure if the government did not intervene.

‘‘The sales tax is highest in Punjab, thus the petrol prices are more. Petrol stations in the border area are the worst hit. Whenever a hike in petrol prices is announced, the business all across the state goes down. Himachal and Haryana benefit at the cost of Punjab,’’ he added.

Other petrol station owners pointed that not many cars come to their stations for petrol. ‘‘Car owners generally prefer to get petrol from Chandigarh. In our case, for example the Chandigarh petrol station is barely a kilometer away. But now we have lost most of our two-wheeler customers also. If it were not for diesel, we would have to close down our business very shortly,’’ said an employees at the Phase 3-A petrol station here.


New Year Indian gift to Dutch couple
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
To the Amsterdam-based Dutch couple, Raymond Ales and Yvonne, there could not have been a better New Year gift from India. They became the parents of boy twins today, thanks to the advanced medical treatment they received from a city-based doctor, Dr G.K. Bedi, who runs an IVF and infertility clinic in Sector 33.

The delivery took place early this morning in an Amsterdam hospital, fulfilling their life-long yearning for a child. In a long distance telephonic interview with The Tribune, Raymond said he was excited and proud to have become a father after making the rounds of some of the best medical institutions in Europe and South Africa for years. In a tribute to Indian medical doctors, he said Indian doctors were not only among the best in the world but also much less expensive when compared to similar treatment being offered in Europe and other parts of the world.

Although both Raymond and Yvonne are Dutch nationals, Yvonne hails from Surinam. Her family has roots in India. They got married five years ago. However, they did not have a baby because Yvonne was nearly 11 years older than Raymond. "She is now touching 50 but looks much younger," said Raymond with a laugh. He himself is just 39.

In Holland, the law prohibits a woman to go in for in vitro fertilisation for having baby if she is above 40 years of age. "So we took the next best option which was to go to South Africa and get the treatment from a doctor who is actually the pioneer in vitro fertilisation. But I am sorry to say that we did not succeed there. It was frustrating, besides being expensive.

''Finally, somebody told me that this treatment is available in India too. Since Yvonne wanted the donor to be an Indian, I contacted a friend in Chandigarh who, in turn, put me in touch with Dr Bedi.

"We came to India in August, 2002, and the treatment began almost immediately. We travelled thrice to India, the final visit being on April 29, 2003. I am happy to say that God has been kind and we have now become proud parents."

Dr Bedi in a talk with Tribune News Service says that medical facilities in India are at par with the best in the world. The in-vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) technique has been perfected over the years. This involves the picking up of eggs from a woman, fertilising them outside the body with the husband's spermatozoa and replacing the resultant embryos into the woman's womb.

Explaining the procedure, she says a known concentration of the husband's spermatozoa is added to the eggs for in-vitro fertilisation. The eggs and spermatozoa are then transferred into an incubator where they are kept under extremely well-controlled, sterile environmental conditions for 48 hours. It is under such conditions that fertilisation occurs and early embryonic development takes place. It is then transferred into the woman who can leave the clinic after about four hours.

The chances of success of IVF-ET are 35 per cent. The chances of pregnancy decline with age. The best chances of a pregnancy are obtained by undergoing the procedure at least three times at intervals of two months. The Dutch couple has been lucky in more ways than one.

Dr Bedi says that as the word spreads about the state-of-the-art medical facilities available in Chandigarh and other parts of the country, more and more couples from abroad are now visiting Indian clinics in search of parenthood. A Canadian couple is expected to visit her to receive treatment later this month followed by another one from Malaysia.

The treatment costs about Rs 65,000, including the cost of the medicines.


PM cancels tomorrow's visit to city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has cancelled his visit to the city to inaugurate the Indian Science Congress which begins at Panjab University on January 3.

The HRD Minister, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, would, instead, stand in for him and inaugurate the two-hour session. However, the programme of the President of India on January 5 remains unchanged, according to official sources.

The UT Administration, it is learnt, has already received a fax message about the cancellation of the Prime Minister's visit though no reasons have been cited for the same.

However, sources said that the SAARC summit, which begins at Islamabad on January 4, is responsible for the change in the plans of the Prime Minister. It is learnt that Mr Vajpayee, pre-occupied with preparations for the SAARC summit, chose to drop the inauguration of the Science Congress from his agenda and focus on his Islamabad visit.

The Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Prof K.N. Pathak, said that the university had received the gazette notification from the UT Administration regarding the visit of Mr Joshi. "At present, we have no information about the visit of the PM," Prof Pathak said.

Once before, in the mid-90s, at the session of the Indian Science Congress at Patiala, the then Prime Minister, Mr Narasimha Rao, could not make it to the inauguration on account of foggy conditions. A renowned scientist, Dr U.R. Rao, had inaugurated the session that year.

Interestingly, the practice of the Prime Minister inaugurating the Indian Science Congress was started by Jawaharlal Nehru, who inaugurated the first session after Independence and continued to do so till the end.


All set for Indian Science Congress
Tribune News Service

An aero model set up at the venue of the ‘Pride of India’ science exhibition at Panjab University in Chandigarh.
An aero model set up at the venue of the ‘Pride of India’ science exhibition at Panjab University in Chandigarh.
A view  of the pandal for the 91st session of the Indian Science Congress at Panjab University, Chandigarh.
A view of the pandal for the 91st session of the Indian Science Congress at Panjab University, Chandigarh. — Tribune photographs

Chandigarh, January 1
The countdown for the Indian Science Congress (ISC) has begun and preparations are in full swing at Panjab University. With road recarpeting complete and stalls in place, the hosts for the 91st ISC, Panjab University and IMTECH, Sector 39, rolled out the red carpet here today to welcome the delegates.

The delegates, who arrived here today, are putting up in the university hostels, college hostels and various guest houses. The first batch of students, 50 in all, also arrived in the city by trains and are housed in the hostel of Shivalik Public School, Sector 41. Expecting nearly 250 students, the hosts have made arrangements for catering and transport. IMTECH will provide staff to attend to the guests.

Issuing instructions to delegates, Prof R.C. Sobti, and Prof S.C. Bedi, said mobile phones, tiffins and other material would not be permitted and entry to the main venue would be through invitation cards or photo identity-cards.

While VIPs would enter the campus through gate number 1 (PGI side), gate number 2 would be open for the general public. The gate number 3 would remain closed on January 3.

The VIP parking has been earmarked between Ankur School and the girls’ hostel, while the area behind the Correspondence Department building will be for the general parking.

Officials said while registration counters would be open from 8 am tomorrow to 8 am on January 3, registration would remain closed from 8 am to 11 am on that day. It would resume at 11 am and continue till 6 pm.

Meanwhile, giving details of the inaugural session to be held on January 3, officials of the university said the programme would include addresses by the Governors and Chief Minister of Punjab and Haryana.

The Minister for Human Resource Development, Science and Technology and Ocean Development, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, would release the “Plant Genome Research Road Map-2010”. This would be followed by the presidential address by Prof Asis Datta, general president, ISC Association and Director, of the National Centre for Plant Genome Research, New Delhi.

“Pride of India”, a science exhibition, would be inaugurated by the chief guest. A science programme for schoolchildren would be held on IMTECH campus.


Amarinder to inaugurate Balongi bridge
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 1
The Chief Minister, Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, will inaugurate the Rs 3.5 crore Balongi bridge on the Mohali-Kharar road on January 7.

The bridge built over the Patiala Ki Rao choe will relieve a major bottleneck on the busy national highway that connects Chandigarh to Himachal and Punjab. Traffic movement on the bridge will start on the day of the inauguration and the old bridge, which is currently being used, will be closed down for repairs.

Followed by the inauguration, the CM will address a public gathering at Government College, Mohali. ‘‘The exact programme of the CM at Mohali is yet to be ascertained but we are trying that the CM’s visit should prove beneficial to the college which also needs attention,’’ said Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, who is organising the visit in collaboration with the PWD and Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB). The bridge has been built by the PIDB in two years.

The Finance Minister, Punjab, Mr Lal Singh, who is also the vice-chairman of the PIDB and the PWD Minister, Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, will also be present at the inauguration along with Mr Bir Devinder Singh.


Sankalp divas observed at PF Commissioner’s Office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
New Year was celebrated as “Behtar karya sankalp divas” in deference to a call given by Mr Laik Ram Dabas, Additional Central Provident Fund Commissioner (North Zone). A function was organised in the office of the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Punjab and Chandigarh, in which Mr A.D. Nagpal, member, Central Board of Trustees, EPF, was the chief guest. The function was presided over by Mr N.N. Sharma, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner-I, Punjab and Chandigarh.

Mr Dabas urged staff members to take a pledge to work efficiently in the New Year and come up to expectations of customers.

Members of the staff and officers took an oath to work with devotion, commitment and honesty in public dealings and provide best services to industrial and other workers who were EPF members. Mr Sharma thanked the staff for services being rendered to industrial workers. He said it was a result of sincere efforts made by all that the Punjab region could introduce the computerised settlement of claims of its members.

Mr A.D. Nagpal called upon the staff to strive hard to come up to the expectation of EPF subscribers. An e-mail directory of establishments covered under the EPF and MP Act, 1952, in the Punjab region was also released by Mr Nagpal.



Woman succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 1
Kanta Devi, a resident of Devi Nagar village, who was injured in an accident here last night, died at the PGI in Chandigarh today.

According to information, Kanta Devi and her husband, who were going to their native village on a scooter, were injured near the Shakti Bhavan in Sector 6 when they were hit by an Indica car. Even as the driver of the car, Palwinder, absconded, the car owner, Mr Gurnam Singh, took the injured couple to the local General Hospital. Later, they were shifted to the PGI.

Her husband has been discharged. A case has been registered against the absconding driver.


BJP leader bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Ms Pritam Devi, mother of the local BJP president Yashpal Mahajan, expired yesterday.

She was 86. She is survived by four sons and four daughters. Senior leaders of the BJP and a large number of party supporters were present at the cremation ground, Sector 25, when Mr Mahajan lit the funeral pyre.


Readers Write
Wake up to gastrointestinal problems

THE water being supplied in Chandigarh and Mohali has led to a number of gastrointestinal problems among residents. Almost every other person suffers from problems like indigestion, acidity, gas and flatulence. This is primarily due to the quality of water being supplied which has excessive chlorine in it.

I personally know a few persons who came here from states like Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and UP and developed symptoms of these diseases. They complain of weight loss, loss of appetite, lack of concentration and alertness and fatigue.

On boiling water for sometime one can see a layer of thick white powder at the base of utensil. And most of the people drink water without boiling it.

The problem is acute and widespread but strangely it has not been spoken about openly.

Shavinder, Chandigarh

Educate traffic cops on rules

I want to draw the attention of the authorities concerned to the indifferent attitude of the Chandigarh Traffic Police personnel, which I experienced recently.

The other day I was going on my motor cycle from Panchkula to Sector 16, Chandigarh. As I approached the Matka chowk I was stopped by two traffic policemen. They challaned me for overspeeding. I was driving below the maximum permissible speed for light vehicles. I pleaded this point before the policemen but he ignored it. But after my pestering he replied that the permissible limit for light vehicles was 50 km/hour although the signboard nearby put it at 55km/hour. This shows that they are just befooling the public and are misusing their authority.

I think before educating the general public the traffic policemen should be educated about the traffic rules.

Aman Garg, Panchkula

Make people-friendly rules, PUDA

It seems that the rules being followed by PUDA are different in Mohali from the rest of Punjab. Anywhere in India a person can change his trade if his business fails. But here in Mohali you are at the mercy of PUDA EO or ACA, who may not allow you to do so.

Rules should be people friendly, PUDA should know. Its harsh rules has made the life of the common man miserable in Mohali, where rules made 50 years back are still being followed. Due to its alleged high headedness 60 per cent factories have already closed down.

Another example of PUDA being virtually blind to common man’s problems is that in Chandigarh commercial use of basement is allowed, but this does not hold true in case of Mohali.

Residents of Mohali

Filthy ISBT, a blot on city

Recently, I had to go to the Inter-State Bus Terminal, Sector 17, Chandigarh, to see off my relative. I found heaps of garbage and filth scattered outside the walls of the bus stand. The people urinate and even defecate in the open, which speaks of the callous attitude of the authorities concerned. The entire area stinks, bringing a bad name to the City Beautiful.

I hope this is a wake up call for the authorities concerned to save the situation.

R.D. Sharda, Chandigarh



Woman held for injuring child
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
A woman of Colony Number 4 has been arrested for allegedly hitting an eight-year-old girl of the same locality with a baton.

The woman, Chaunti, had allegedly injured girl, the Karuna, last evening when she and her child got entangled in a fight.

Karuna, daughter of Ravinder Pathak, was taken to the PGI with injuries on the head. She is stated to be out of danger now. The woman has been remanded in judicial custody. She has been booked under Sections 323 and 506 of the IPC.



Cash, valuables stolen from house
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 1
Cash and goods worth Rs 20,000 were stolen from the residence of Mr Ajaib Singh of Midde Majra village here. According to the police, the thieves entered the house by scaling the rear wall. They took away cash and utensils.

Shop burgled

Thieves broke into an electronics goods shop at Balongi village and decamped with goods worth Rs 15,000. The owner of the shop, Mr Arun Agnihotri, told the police that many expensive items lying in the shop were missing.

A white Maruti car was found lying abandoned in the Phase VII market here today. The car’s number plate was found to be fake. The police has taken the car into its possession.



Greeting cards cheer up courier firms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Courier companies have succeeded in wooing a large number of corporate and individual clients to use their service to post their greeting cards and New Year gifts. Heavy discounts, ensured and early delivery in comparison to the Postal Department have encouraged a number of customers to avail their services.

According to industry experts, there are over 100 courier companies registered in the city. But, Bluedart, OverNight, First Flight, DTDC, Ace and Blazeflight are the major players in the market. According to industry estimates, over 5 lakh greeting cards have been sent through courier companies. Mr Vipul Dhingra of Prakash AirFlight Ltd said: “On an average even a small time courier company in the city has done a business of Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 in the delivery of greeting card alone. Despite surge in SMS greetings through mobile phones, a large number of customers especially the corporate sector are using the greeting cards to greet their well wishers, clients and even their own employees.”

Mr Raminder Pal Singh at Archies Gallery in Sector 35, confirmed that the sales of greeting cards and New Year gifts had substantially increased this year in comparison to last year. He said: “Young boys and couples, who are spending Rs 150 to Rs 200 to buy costly cards for their girl friends and spouse, do not mind to spend little extra to ensure their delivery.”

Mr Ramesh Jain, a bank official said: “The customers are shifting from the Postal Department to courier companies to post their greeting cards and costly gifts especially for the local friend circle. Since there is no guarantee for the delivery of your greeting card by the postman, so people do not mind paying one or two rupee extra for the assured delivery. Moreover when the pace of life is getting faster, who has time to buy the stamps by standing in a queue in the postoffice and later post the cards.”

Some of the companies have got bulk order for the delivery of annual gifts like diaries, calendars, wall clocks, letter pads, and even flower pots, bouquets as well. Mr Yadwinder Bali, a franchisee of the DTDC courier company, said,” The courier companies have done a good business these days. We hope that in the coming days more and more people come to us after experiencing better service”.

According to customers some of the courier companies were charging just Rs 3 to Rs 4 per greeting card for local delivery and Rs 8 to Rs 10 for delivery to other stations like Delhi. On the other hand, the Postal Department was charging Rs 5 for a closed envelope and Rs 4 for book post. In case of normal delivery there was no guarantee whether the greeting cards would be delivered at all.

Ms Ranjana Gupta, a marketing executive said,” Who would like to post the greetings through the Postal Department, when the courier companies are ready to send their boys at your office or home to take the packets and that, too, at lower rates with ensured delivery”.



Octroi contractor’s no to extension

Mohali, January 1
In a surprise move, the Municipal Council’s octroi collection contractor today refused to accept the extension in his contract by the Local Government Department, Punjab, thereby ending his contract with the Council yesterday midnight.

Despite hectic talks that lasted through the day, no breakthrough could be achieved to resolve the crisis. As a result, the Council today employed its own employees to start collecting octroi at various posts on Mohali borders.

A few days ago, the Council had taken special permission from the department to allow the present contractor to continue. The next auction for the octroi collection contract has been scheduled for January 12. TNS

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