L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Man hit, bundled in car, taken away
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
A few car-borne youths knocked down a Class IV employee of the Punjab Sahitya Akademi near the Head Post Office on the Ferozepore road yesterday and then took away the injured man along with them.

The city police today launched a massive search operation to trace the victim as well as the car, but have not found any clue so far. The action was initiated after relatives of the missing person filed a complaint with senior officials.

Jai Mann (40), a peon with the Akademi at Punjabi Bhavan, was allegedly knocked down by a car about 10 am yesterday.

According to eyewitnesses, a white Uno car (PB-10-AK-6362), in which three or four youths were travelling, hit the victim as he was crossing the road.

The youths stopped, bundled the man into the car and sped away. They gave the impression that they were taking the injured man to hospital. Employees at the Akademi office, a stone’s throw from the accident site, later searched all city hospitals but could not find the victim.

His brother, Parsidh Narayan, also employed with the Akademi, lodged a complaint with the police this morning. On the directions of the SP (Detective), Mr Gurpreet Singh, various police teams inquired about the injured person at all city hospitals, but failed to find him. The police has also sounded an alert for the car.

Police sources said the owner of the car would be identified only tomorrow, when the District Transport Office opens.

The sources said they had no reason yet to believe that the peon was attacked because of some personal enmity.

The victim’s wife and four children were in a state of anxiety. Jai Mann belonged to Uttar Pradesh, but was settled in the city for more than the past three decades. Akademi officials have also taken up the matter with the police and expressed serious concern about the incident.



Scooter rally in favour of CM’s stand on SYL
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
To express solidarity with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on the river waters and SYL issue, workers of Youth Congress organised a scooter rally here today.

Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, Power and Housing, Punjab flagged off the rally from Islam Ganj area. More than 200 Youth Congress workers, holding banners relating to the SYL issue participated. The rally passed through one dozen localities including CMC Chowk, Khud Mohalla, Benjiman road and Trunk Bazar and culminated at Congress Bhavan.

Mr Dawar, addressing the workers before the flag off ceremony, said Capt Amarinder Singh had enacted the Termination of Water Agreements Act-2004 absolutely within the provisions of the Constitution of India to save the interests of Punjab. He said the availability of water with the state had substantially declined from 17.17 MAF in 1981 to 14.37 MAF now. He also claimed that people of Punjab irrespective of political attachments were fully supporting the Chief Minister on the SYL issue and asserted that not a single drop of more water would be allowed to flow out of the state.

He exhorted the youth to educate the people regarding the fair decision of the CM to save the livelihood of 16 lakh families of Punjab and 9 lakh acres going barren. Mr Dawar said due to the river waters and extreme uses of ground water resources, Punjab had filled the empty coffers of the country with food grains and snatching of water from Punjab could push the country again into a serious food crisis.

Mr Dawar, taking a serious view of the false propaganda raised by the leaders of the neighbouring states regarding the SYL issue, clarified that under the new Act, the provisions had been made to continue the already flowing water to Haryana and Rajasthan. He said when the riparian state of Punjab had no surplus water, but was rather facing a serious problem of decreasing ground water level, there was no question of giving more water to the other states. He called upon the political parties to understand the genuine problem of Punjab and not to criticise the decision just for the sake of vested political interests.

Among others, the congress leaders who also strongly supported the CM’s stand on the SYL and waters issue included Mr Ramesh Joshi, Ms Barjinder Kaur, Mr Om Parkash Malhotra, (all secretaries of PPCC), Mr Pardeep Malhotra, joint secretary, PPCC, Mr Sanjay Talwar, Mr Rakesh Prashar, Mr Kailash Kapoor, Mr Ashok Bagga, Mr Jasbir Chadda, Mr Chanchal Singh (all Councillors) and Mr Rajinder Sohi.

Later Mr Dawar inaugurated a Janjghar at Vijay Nagar and presented a cheque of Rs 86,000 to Mr Darshan Singh Virk, president Mohalla Welfare Society for further improvement of the Janjghar. 



Traffic blocked over power cuts 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 18
Agitated over the poor supply of electricity residents of Ghungrana village blocked vehicular traffic for more than two hours on the local Pohir road in front of the PSEB office. Board officials on the other hand have lodged a complaint against the protesters for allegedly ransacking their office and manhandling members of the staff.

A large number of residents of Ghungrana, including some women, had come to the local PSEB office to enquire about the timings of power supply to their village. Arguments led to an ugly scene and board officials asked the complainants to leave the office. The villagers, feeling insulted organised a brief rally and blocked the vehicular traffic for around two hours which was later lifted on persuasion by Mr Sukhdev Singh, Additional SHO at Dehlon police station. Mr Gurpreet Singh, a member of the panchayat of the village alleged that the officials were releasing power for shorter duration than stipulated by the authorities. He maintained that the village was given power for only six hours a day contrary to the claims being made by the government.

Mr L. Sharma, SDO at the subdivision, claimed that the power had been supplied strictly accordingly to the instructions received from the higher authorities. He however, alleged that a mob led by Mr Gurpreet Singh, Mr Pyara Singh and Updesh ransacked the board office and manhandled Mr Bhupinder Singh, Junior Engineer of the subdivision. “Not only did they threaten to harm us if we reached their village, but they damaged the board property and tore curtains and the government calendars carrying photographs of the Chief Minister,” said Mr Sharma.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, Sub-Inspector of Police, confirmed having received a complaint. The police is yet to initiate investigations.



Politics taking its toll on Beant Singh’s family
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
While politics may make strange bedfellows, it can also threaten the family bonds as well. That seems to be happening within the family of the former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh, with his son, Mr Tej Parkash, and his daughter Ms Gurkanwal Kaur not too happy with each other.

During the process of downsizing of the ministry, Mr Beant Singh’s son, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, lost his ministerial berth. Although the apparent reason was made out to be the loss in his assembly segment during the parliamentary elections, Mr Tej Parkash does not appear to be convinced with this argument. While Mr Tej Parakash on his part remains unassuming, his son, Mr Gurkirat Singh and other supporters of Mr Beant Singh’s family are not happy at all. They have been maintaining that the sacrifices of Mr Beant Singh to the party and to the nation were far too great to warrant his (Mr Tej Parkash’s) removal from the ministry.

Mr Tej Parkash’s family is not at all satisfied with the argument that Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, the daughter of Mr Beant Singh, was accommodated in the ministry, at a junior level. Even Mr Beant Singh’s wife has also sided with her son arguing that it is Mr Tej Parkash who should have inherited the political legacy of Mr Beant Singh. She is believed to be not too happy with her daughter.

For Mr Tej Parkash it has been a great fall. During the rebellion against Capt Amarinder Singh, during last year, he was even projected as the possible alternative choice. And he had also started nourishing such dreams. Right now Mr Tej Parkash appears to be a lonely man along with his mother. With the limelight having shifted to Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, the family appears to have be left to itself.

A close family friend observed that at no cost Mr Tej Parkash should have been dropped from the ministry. He observed that had the performance in the parliamentary elections been the sole criteria, there were several others as well. But why have they been allowed to continue while the son of Mr Beant Singh was dropped? he asked. The family appears to have been pushed to political wilderness and oblivion for the time being, while Ms Gurkanwal Kaur has been enjoying the taste of power that came to her too late and at the cost of her brother.



Wife, paramour kill man
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 18
Darshan Singh (60), a carpenter, was strangled to death by his wife, Harbhajan Kaur, and his nephew, Jagbir Singh, as he allegedly objected to their illicit relationship. Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, gave this information to mediapersons here today. He said both the suspects had been arrested under Section 302 of the IPC.

The victim originally belonged to Ramgarh Bhullar and a few years ago had married Harbhajan Kaur of Agwar Gujran, Jagraon, who is working as a nurse. This was his second marriage and the third of the woman.

Early in the morning, Harbhajan Kaur raised the alarm that her husband had committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan. Mr Jaspal Singh Dhanoa SP(D) and Mr Randhir Singh DSP (City), who visited the site, found that one Jagbir Singh, a nephew of the deceased, was also present in the house.

Meanwhile, Avtar Singh, a relative of Darshan Singh, told the police that Harbhajan Kaur and Jagbir Singh had an illicit relationship since long and Darshan Singh used to object that. This allegedly led them to murder Darshan Singh.

The SSP said the story given by Harbhajan Kaur looked untenable as the condition of the body indicated something else. The body has been for postmortem to the local Civil Hospital.



Two youths killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Two youths were killed in an accident near Hardy’s World on the Jalandhar road here today while they were returning after paying obeisance at Chintpurni temple in Himachal Pradesh. Kuldip Singh of Dashmesh Nagar and Harvinder Singh of Kuldip Nagar here left the city yesterday on a Hero Honda motor cycle.

Near Hardy’s World around 11:45 a.m. today, they lost control and hit a railing. They received head injuries and died on the spot. Two persons coming from the opposite direction at that time lost control over their scooter and fell off it in the middle of the road. They received minor injuries. They were identified as Rakesh and Chotte Lal, working as motor mechanics.

Kuldip was working with a local doctor as helper and Harvinder had his clinical laboratory at Phillaur. Kuldip had married an year ago. A pall of gloom descended on the families of the youths after the news of the tragedy reached them.



Tewari to take up Punjab’s problems in Delhi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The newly appointed secretary of the AICC, Mr Manish Tewari, has reiterated that he will continue to take up the problems of Punjab in New Delhi besides that of his constituency. He had unsuccessfully contested from Ludhiana in the parliamentary poll.

Talking to the The Tribune late last evening, he said he was indebted to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for appointing him to the prestigious post. This was an attempt to rope in young leaders to do organisational work so that they could strengthen the party in the coming years.

Commenting on the allegations that he had not spared time for nurturing his constituency, he said he had opened an office the same day at 4, South Model Gram, where his representative would be available to listen to the grievances of the people. Anyone was welcome to submit his complaint in writing which would be dealt with by him on a regular basis. Besides, he would be available to the people once a month, he added.

Mr Tewari, former Youth Congress chief, said he was well-versed with the problems of the state and would do his utmost to get these addressed at the highest level. He also assured the local steel entrepreneurs that he would take the issue of steel price hike with the Steel Minister. If the prices of steel increase at the present rate, the industry would be forced to shut, he pointed out.

He also addressed participants at a function organised by Knitwear Club where a newly appointed Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawar was felicitated by members of the club. A large number of delegations from various organizations submitted representations to him at the inaugural function of his local office.

Mr Tewari said he would be touring the Jagraon area tomorrow before leaving for Chandigarh in the evening. Also present on the occasion were Mayor Nahar Singh Gill and senior Congress leaders.



Anti-Corruption Council for frequent transfers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
A delegation of the Anti-Corruption Council today met Mr Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu, SP (CID), and appraised him of the modus operandi of corrupt officers in various government departments and suggested steps to curb and eliminate corruption.

The delegation, comprising Dr Shiv Gupta, Mr B. K. Rampal, Mr Sushil Malhotra, Mr Dev Dutt Sharma, Mr Sanjiv Malhotra, Mr Raj Garg, Dr Ajay Shahi and Mr Mohammad Nasim Ansari, appreciated the anti-corruption movement of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and appealed that it should be continued in the larger interest.

Dr Gupta alleged that corruption was rampant in the offices of the Municipal Corporation, PUDA, Excise and Taxation, Food and Civil Supplies, FCI, Markfed, Civil Surgeon, Registrar of Births and Deaths, Public Health, PWD, Electricity Board, Cooperative Department, Irrigation, Transport, DTO and the police.

The members also suggested ways and means to curb corruption. They said all government staff should be transferred from one district to another every three years. All gazetted officers must declare their assets and details of movable and immovable property every year. Surprise checks should be made by ministers and secretaries in tandem with the Vigilance Bureau.

The delegation said politicians must not interfere when any corruption case was registered against officials. Judiciary must be impartial and not grant bail easily in corruption cases. Vigilance committees must be constituted to check the construction and development works undertaken by contractors.

The Deputy Commissioners should organise open darbars at least once a week to hear public grievances for expeditious redress.

They also said that transparency must be the norm and a time limit should be fixed for clearing files in all departments. The SSPs should make surprise checks at police stations to detect malpractices and invite the public for discussion at regular intervals. FIRs should be registered without bribe. The assets and property of police officers should be secretly investigated and corrupt officials must forced to retire, they pointed out.



BJP appointment
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 18
The BJP unit of Barnala has appointed Mr Sandeep Puri, as the district vice-president of the youth wing of the party. Mr Ramesh Ghaie, president of the local unit, said the appointment had been made to strengthen the organisational set-up of the party in this part of the region. Mr Puri earlier worked as president of the local unit of the Yuva Morcha.

Mr Subhash Makkara and Mr Pritam Jindal, president and general secretary, respectively, of the district unit, said the party would widen its base after the recent appointment.



Boy beaten up, hospitalised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
An employee of the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) has alleged that his minor son was tied and beaten up by a man living in the neighbourhood in the residential apartments of the CMCH.

The 12-year-old boy, Ashish David, was admitted to the CMCH today after he fell unconscious. His father, Mr David, a laboratory assistant, alleged that his son was beaten up by his neighbour R.K. Robert on Friday and he was not feeling well since then.

Mr David alleged that his son was playing football in the compound of the residential area on Friday evening with other boys. He said the football hit two daughters of Robert, who were going on a bike. The girls could not control the bike and fell down. The boys, including Ashish, started laughing and the incensed girls complained to their father.

Mr David said Robert came to the compound and caught hold of Ashish while the other boys fled. He said Robert took Ashish to his house, tied him with a rope and beat him up, causing internal injuries.

Mr David complained to the police, but Robert fled from his house. Mr David added that his son was not feeling well after the incident. Ashish was taken to a doctor, who gave him painkillers and other medicines, but this morning, he felt dizzy and fell down. His father demanded action against the accused by alleging that the condition of his son was due to the incident.



Customs official missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
A senior official with the Central Customs Department posted at Dhandari Kalan here is missing for the past two days after a team of Himachal Pradesh police began raiding his house and other places in search of his son, who is suspected to be the second but prime accused in the Ishita acid throwing case at Shimla.

Informed police sources revealed to The Tribune that the senior official was probably under police pressure to hand over his son, who had allegedly thrown the acid at the girl out of sheer frustration. Investigations so far reveal that the youth had a crush on the girl but was not able to win her love.

The raiding team consisting of cops from Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and local police continued conducting raids in the city in search of the second accused identified as Vijay. Sources said raids were also conducted at Jalandhar in his search.

Local police sources said the whereabouts  of the Customs officer were not known.

Meanwhile, the family members of the youth, Daljit Singh, nabbed by the police yesterday in the case from Jamalpur here have expressed disbelief and shock at the allegations. His mother, Mrs Darshan Kaur, said she could not believe that her son was involved in such a crime. ‘‘There must be a misunderstanding somewhere’’ she said.



Industry rues delay in panel on steel prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The small-scale industry, particularly that which is dependent on steel, has rued the delay in the constitution of the Steel Regulatory Authority (SRA), which is to regulate the prices of steel in the country.

Immediately after taking over as the Union Minister for Steel, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan had announced that the government might constitute the SRA, which would monitor steel prices in the country. This had been done in response to the growing demand from the industry as the five top steel manufacturers in the country were allegedly manipulating prices at the cost of domestic industry.

Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the United Progressive Alliance government had generated a lot of hope among the industry. He said when Mr Paswan hinted at the constitution of the SRA, it appeared that the industry would have it good, but now the hope had been belied.

Mr Sharma said it appeared that Mr Paswan had forgotten the idea of the SRA. He said steel-based industries had been pushed back. He added that the government had resumed incentives on steel export, which had been suspended by the National Democratic Alliance government.

Mr V.P. Chopra, president of the Federation of Small Industries Association, regretted the resumption of export incentives on steel. He observed that this had dealt a severe blow on steel-based industries, most of which were in the small-scale sector. He stated that a number of small-scale industrial units had either been closed or were on the verge of closure.

He appealed to the government to take immediate remedial measures and ensure that the small-scale industry did not suffer losses. He pointed out that the small-scale industry provided the maximum employment opportunities in the country and its closure could lead to social unrest as a lot of people would be rendered jobless.



Steel prices continue to rise
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 18
Steel prices continue to rise as a result of which the engineering industry is passing through a crisis. The steel prices have witnessed a rise of Rs 1000 per tonne in two days. At the same time, the industry faced with a serious power crisis which has also crippled the functioning of the industry and particularly the small scale industry is on the verge of collapse.

Enquiries today showed that the prices of MS rounds in the local market touched Rs 28,000 per tonne. The prices of the same had come down to Rs 26,000 per tonne and there was a rise of Rs 1,000 per tonne during the past two days.

The prices of HR Coil have also risen by Rs 1,300 per tonne and were quoted at Rs 35,300 per tonne today.

The industry is being subjected to 48 hour power cut and the same applies to the furnace plants too. The furnace plants owners claim that the production of steel has fallen by 40 per cent. But at the same time, the demand for the steel has gone down as a result of the power cut. The industrialists feel that the prices of steel should not rise in view of the fall in the demand for the same owing to power crises.

Enquiries further show that the UPA Government has restored the DEPB benefits to the exporters of steel particularly HR coils. The NDA Government had banned the export of HR coils in the month of February till June 30 after a deputation of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, had met the then Prime Minister, Mr A.B. Vajpayee, when the steel prices were on the rise.

However, the UPA Government has withdrawn the ban and restored the DEPB benefits to the exporters of steel with retrospective effect since February last. The latest rise in the prices of steel is attributed to the restoration DEPB benefits and withdrawal of ban on the export of steel.

The industrialists of Punjab are sore that the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has forgotten the promise he made with the industrialists during his visit to Punjab during the election campaign for the Lok Sabha. Dr Manmohan Singh had assured the industrialists that the Congress Government if returned to power would check the rise in the prices.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, in a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today has reminded him of the promise he made during his visit to Ludhiana and other places in the month of February.

Mr Inderjit Singh has expressed concern over the steep hike in the steel prices and has observed that the unprecedented hike in the steel prices had disturbed the engineering industry particularly the small scale sector in Punjab. The quantum hike in the prices of basic raw material of steel for the engineering industry has been noticed to the tune of 100 per cent hike as compared with last year’s prices of HR coils, CR strips and MS rounds. The reason for such arbitrary hike by the five big steel manufacturers of India has been attributed to the liberalised export of steel to China at the cost of the Indian industry.

He has further pointed out that in the recent budget for 2004-2005 all the incentives given to steel exporters have been restored to big manufacturers of steel who make exports to China. Moreover, the excise on steel products which was reduced to 8 per cent from 12 per cent has been increased to 12 pre cent again in the budget. These decisions of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Commerce have paralysed the very existence of the engineering industry to the small scale sector. Dr Inderjit Singh has sought the intervention of the Prime Minister to save the small scale industry.

Meanwhile, the industrialists are planning to launch a state-wide agitation if the hike in steel prices is not checked immediately. The chamber has convened a meeting of all associations of the industries on July 19 to chalk out programme of action.



Industrialists to have role in power disputes settlement
Tribune News service

Ludhiana July 18
Power and Housing Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawar has announced that representatives of industrialists would be nominated to the dispute settlement committees of the Punjab State Electricity Board constituted for different cities.

He was addressing a function organised by the Knitwear Club here last night to felicitate him on his elevation as Parliamentary Secretary. Mr Manish Tiwari was also honoured for highlighting the problems of the hosiery industry.

Mr Dawar appreciated the efforts of the local industrialists for making efforts to enhance production and quality of the produce to international levels, which was earning substantial foreign exchange, besides goodwill for the state.

The Congress government had withdrawn the excise duty imposed on hosiery, which was a major threat to the industry, Mr Dawar said. He said many problems of the industry relating to the Punjab Pollution Control Board had also been settled following his intervention.

He said now that the financial condition of the government had improved, sufficient funds would flow for the development of the district and infrastructure for the growth of industry and trade would be improved.

Mr Manish Tiwari, newly appointed secretary of the AICC, said the process for setting up an international-level airfield in Ludhiana had already been started, as promised by him during parliamentary elections.

He also said that a big gas-based power plant would be set up in Punjab shortly, for which talks with international-level power companies were in progress.

Endorsing the decision of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on the Termination of Water Agreements Act, Mr Tiwari said he had acted as per the Constitution, which empowered the state assemblies to enact laws relating to the state subjects.

Mr Vinod Thappar, secretary of the Knitwear Club, appreciated the efforts of both Mr Dawar and Mr Tiwari in getting the excise duty on hosiery goods waived.

Among others present at the function were Mr Suraj Bhan , president of the club, Mr Darshan Dawer, secretary, Mr Pawan Diwan, Mr Om Parkash Malhotra, Mr V. P. Chopra, Harinder Miglani and Mr Charanjiv Singh.



Seminar on printing needs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Entrepreneurs today attended a seminar on the needs of the printing, packaging and signage industry here. The event was organised by Press Ideas, a magazine on the printing industry published from Chandigarh.

Mr Ajay Bhatia, Marketing Manager, Digital Publishing Solutions, Xerox Modi Corporation, gave a presentation on “Digital — the new business of printing”, while Mr Ajay Aggarwal, of Insight Communications, Indian representative of Cero, leader in Computer-to-Plate (CTP) technology, presented the facts on return on investment on CTP.

Mr Pankaj Goswami, Marketing Manager, Scitex Vision, leader in wide format printing, discussed the growth of signage industry and Mr Gopal Krishan, CEO, Basis Systems, Indian representative of Markzware, leader in pre-fighting technology, talked about production flow software.

Mr Jacob George of Press Ideas presented a paper on “The need of the hour — a quality print exhibition”. He said this was the first time that such a major initiative had been taken in the region. In and around Ludhiana, there are over 200 large printing units and over 800 medium and small units. It is estimated that there are over 2,250 screen printing units in addition to many signage printers.

There are also a large number of newspapers in the region. All of them will benefit tremendously from the exposure of the exhibition.



CII chief to address LMA members
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The newly elected president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, will address members of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) on ‘Indian economy — challenges and growth prospects’ here tomorrow. The LMA will felicitate Mr Munjal on having taken over as CII president recently. This was stated by Mr M.C. Munjal, president, and Mr V.K.Goyal, general secretary, LMA, in a press note today.

Speaking about the importance of the subject, they said, “The Indian economy has undergone major changes in the past decade and is poised for accelerated growth in the years to come. It is felt worldwide that the Indian economy will be one of the four biggest economies in the world in the next two or three decades. Many economists have predicted that India will be one of the best future investment destinations. There are many concerns in India as to whether the Indian economy will be able to grow as fast as the rest of the world feels that it will.”



Bank to upgrade extension counter
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The Bank of Baroda will upgrade its extension counter at PAU to a full- fledged branch from tomorrow. The extension counter has been functioning at the university since 1997. It has been providing all types of services to nearly 5,000 employees of the university.

Mr Jagmohan Singh, branch head, said the step had been taken to provide enhanced banking facilities to its customers. This would be the seventh branch of the bank in the city. The PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, will inaugurate the branch.


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