C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Societies can decide on membership substitution
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
In a major relief to members of the cooperative house building societies, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to allow them to take their own decisions on membership substitution at their respective general body meetings.

The UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), has approved a far-reaching policy for the benefit of the members of the societies.

The decision on the substitution of membership has now been left to the respective societies, provided such decisions are consistent with the provisions of the Cooperative Societies Act and rules framed there under comply with bylaws of the respective societies and the terms and conditions of allotment of land.

The Administration has decided not to get itself involved in the management of the societies. However, if the actions of the societies are not in accordance with the stipulated rules, it will take action as provided in the rules.

There are 120 societies in the city and around 8,000 families will be benefited with this decision.

The Administration had notified the Chandigarh Allotment of Land to Cooperative House Building Societies Scheme, 1991, with a view to promoting private housing and optimum utilisation of land with construction of multi-storied structures on the allotted land.

The land had been allotted to the Chandigarh Housing Board on a chunk basis for its further allotment to the societies. After allotment of land to them, some of their members opted out and surrendered their shares. And also some members had been expelled for default in payment.



Theft probe points at Cong councillor’s wife
Our Correspondent

What needs to be probed

  • Since when were the women in touch with the salesman?
  • Identity of the other women who were using/selling the stolen clothes
  • Reason for repeated calls exchanged between the salesman and the women
  • Past record of the salesman
  • Where was the actual recovery of the stolen clothes made from and from whom?
  • Thorough and fair cross-examination of all those being questioned
  • All those who were involved in hushing up the case.

Chandigarh, May 7
Investigations into the infamous case of theft of expensive garments from an exclusive ladies garment showroom in Sector 17 has indicated the involvement of the wife of a Congress councillor.

A statement of the watchman, Nand Kumar, which was yesterday recorded by the police, has corroborated media reports about two women coming in a white car (bearing temporary registration No. CH 23 T 9602) to Sector 17 to pick clothes from the salesman on the morning of April 17. The police would seek the details of the registration number from the Registration and Licensing Authority, said a police officer.

The Sector 17 police had arrested the salesman, Raju, for allegedly stealing clothes from the showroom, Sweet Girls Station, Sector 17-C. He was arrested on April 18, when the night watchman of the market saw Raju opening the shop and handing over clothes to two women.

The watchman reportedly told the police that on the evening of April 17, he was offered a bribe by the salesman to keep his mouth shut about what he saw in the morning. However, the watchman reported the matter to the shop owner, Mr Alok Jain, who was in Ludhiana on that day. The watchman recorded his statement at the Neelam police post in Sector 17.

A senior police official said the Congress councillor and his wife would soon be called to join investigations and the statements of all those whose name figured in this case would be cross-examined to know the truth. The statement of the shop owner would also be recorded to know how an effort was made to hush up the entire episode, said the official.

The officials said apart from reinvestigating the matter, the role of police officials in the alleged hushing up of the case would also be looked into. Erring officials would not be spared, he said.

The police is investigating the exchange of frequent and long-duration mobile phone calls between the salesman, the local Congress leader and his wife to establish their link in the theft and subsequent hushing up of the matter. Due to circumstantial evidence, phone call details and the statement of the watchman has strengthened the suspicion against the influential persons.

The phone calls made to and from the mobile number of the Congress councillor has indicated that repeated calls were exchanged between him and certain police officials at the Sector 17 police station. A number of calls were routed through the police exchange number ( 2741900) on April 18 and 19, and May 3, 5 and 6. Some calls were made and received from the mobile of an Inspector-level officer.



Manch for fair probe against Cong leader’s wife
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Mr Sandeep Singh, Dr O.P. Verma, Mr Jatinder Bhatia and Mr Vijay Singh Rana, general secretaries of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, in a joint statement lamented the recent developments in the incident involving a Congress leader wife’s in the theft case at a Sector 17 shop.

These leaders urged the Administrator of UT, Chandigarh, Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, to ensure that a fair and impartial enquiry is held into the entire episode and the facts are brought before the public.

The leaders also demanded a probe into the providing of Punjab Police personnel as gunmen to leaders of the Chandigarh Congress.



News Analysis
Implementation of order holds the key
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The decision of the Chandigarh Administration to allow the group housing societies to substitute members has come as a relief for around 8,000 families.

The hopes of these families to have a home of their own early have brightened. With at least 10 societies, having a substantial number of substitute members, at the “draw stage” the draws could now be held soon.

However, much will depend on the implementation of the order, which the substitute members feared, could be interpreted differently by the officials.

The order makes it clear that “for the benefit of the members of the societies the decision regarding the substitution of membership has been left to be taken by the respective societies at their general body meetings, provided such decisions were consistent with the provisions of the Cooperative Societies Act and other rules and regulations.”

The decision on the announcement of the substitution policy on a non-working day — Sunday —by the Administration is being seen as an offshoot of a case pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The case, filed by the Universal Cooperative House Building Society, is slated to come before a Division Bench tomorrow. The Administration is to file a reply in the court tomorrow and the announcement of the substitution policy is to be seen in this context, sources informed.

The substitute members had been allowed by the societies by following proper procedure, the members claimed. Even the Supreme Court had ruled that the cooperative society was an autonomous body in its internal functioning.

Moreover, the members were loser on two counts. While on the one hand they were paying instalments of the housing loans raised from various banks and financial institutions, on the other they had been paying rents.

Sources said with the election to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) a few months away, the political parties could hardly ignore the hundreds of the substitute members and their families, who constitute a substantial part of the electorate.

In fact, there was a lot of pressure on the Administration from various sections of society, including politicians and the media, to frame a policy on substitution of membership in the societies.



A truly positive man
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
He’s one “positive” man, worth emulating and worth idealising. Naveen Kumar, one of the visible faces of the HIV/AIDS movement in Delhi and founder member of the Delhi Network of Positive People, is not afraid to admit he’s HIV positive. He’s had to bear a lot for being frank and open but it doesn’t bother him anymore.

He’s learnt to laugh through the cruel blow life has dealt to him and lived one day at a time since the past 10 years. Life’s been tough for him ever since he read his wife’s blood report that fateful day of 1996.

Written in red on one of the routine test results conducted for her pregnancy were the words “HIV +ve”. “The report numbed me. I stood in the hospital staring at the report, not believing what my eyes saw, shocked out of my wits that my wife had HIV. Even today, too, I get goose pimples and my hair stands up when I stand up to narrate my story and the day that changed our lives forever,” he recalls.

It was very much later that the couple zeroed in on the root of the HIV which had made their life hell. His wife, a Manipuri, had to be administered blood for a medical problem and the man donating the blood was in the window period of HIV. The virus entered her body through the blood stream and found its way into Naveen’s. Ever since the chance discovery, it’s been a barrage of problems they have tackled together.

In the city for an HIV/AIDS workshop organised by Sanchetna here today, Naveen, a marketing executive with Sahara, an NGO, says it took him and his wife a while to come to terms with the problem before they decided to take it by the horns.

“Our immediate concern was our child and we walked into the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, hoping for help. The only advice we got from the gynaecologist there was ‘dump the baby’. Those three cold words are etched on my heart. I can’t forget the way the doctor just said it as if it were some unwanted mass.

Dejected with the response, we consulted one of the best HIV specialists. On his prescription, I got six-month medication for my wife all the way from Delhi to tide over the pregnancy,” he states.

Today, they have a daughter who is HIV negative and is doing them proud by excelling in academics. However, her birth, too, wasn’t easy for Naveen and his wife. “The baby was on its way and every hospital refused to admit my wife. We moved to Manipur where our daughter was born. Today, I am glad we went against the gynaecologist who told us to dump the baby. She’s life for us, everything that is synonymous with vibrancy and activity,” he maintains.

After she grew up, the daughter’s admission to a school became an arduous task. “I would go and tell the Principal that I and my wife were HIV positive and the doors would be closed on us. This is the story of Delhi, the Capital of our country. Nobody was ready to admit her. Finally, she’s got a seat in one of the best schools of the country, Don Bosco in Manipur,” he says, pride reflected in his eyes.

Only sometime back, Naveen underwent a heart surgery to remove a blockage in the artery. Imagine his surprise when the doctor treating him came to the Intensive care Unit and shouted at him for not disclosing his HIV status before the surgery.

“I told him I was unconscious when I was wheeled into the hospital but he would listen to nothing. He kept on harping about why I had not told him about my HIV status. The ward boy refused to touch me, the nurses offered no assistance. The whole attitude was that of hatred. To add to our misery, everything from our bed, cup, plate to the report chart screamed our HIV status in bold red letters. I just got myself discharged from the hospital and went away,” he rues.

Forced to change house after house after the landlords discovered their “positive” status and expressed their discomfort in no uncertain terms, he found staunch support at his workplace where colleagues always stood by him, giving him all sorts of concessions of leave, transfer and even a roof over their heads.

“Through it all, we managed to keep our chin up, fighting back every injustice. Subsequently, a few positive people got together to float the Delhi Network of Positive People. Now, we fight for the rights of HIV positive people together to ensure injustice is meted out to nobody like it was to us,” holds Naveen.

Emphatic and determined to win his fight against the virus, Naveen is even stronger today. “I am firmly in control of my life. It is all a mind game with the virus and I have decided to fight back. HIV can’t get the better of me. Today, as I stand before you, healthy, hale and hearty, I have triumphed in my own right. I won’t give in and I won’t give up. Never,” he concludes.



3-year-old girl crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 7
A three-year-old girl was crushed to death by a CTU bus at Badheri Market here this morning.

Giving details of the accident, sources at the Sector 39 police station said the victim, Obha, of Kajheri village was on her way to celebrate “kanjaken” at the residence of her acquaintance when the mishap took place at around 10 a.m. She was walking on the road along with her mother Sheela and two other sisters. According to eyewitnesses, Obha, who lagged behind, ran to catch them.

In the process, she got hit by a CTU bus following which she fell on the road and was crushed to death under the rear tyre.

The body has been sent to the Sector 16 General Hospital. Meanwhile, the police has arrested the bus driver, Surinder Kumar, on the charges of causing death due to rash and negligent driving. He was later released on bail.



Top scribe favours circulation of newspapers in
India, Pak

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Media professionals from India and Pakistan today gave a clarion call for taking the Track II diplomacy a step further for increased "people-people"contact with a view to further strengthening the thaw in the Indo-Pakistan relations.

Participating in an interactive session, organised by Hamshira,an NGO, at the Chandigarh Press Club, the journalists called upon mediapersons to come out of the "pre-conceived notions" about each other's country.

Saying that there were a lot of misconceptions in the mind of the people of India and Pakistan about each other, Mr A.J. Philip, Senior Associate Editor,The Tribune, pleaded for the circulation of newspapers in each other's country.Journalists would be more responsible and the misconceptions would be removed if the people had a stake in the newspapers, he added.

He regretted that even on crucial issues, such as the Kashmir issue, the journalists gave only the government viewpoint.

Urging the mediapersons to do away with the pre-conceived mindsets, Mr Awais Saleem, Staff Correspondent, The News, Lahore, urged them to create a social pressure on the governments to start working for the resolution of the outstanding issues.

Urging the media to adopt a "people-centric" approach, Mr Saleem suggested that contentious issues such as the Kashmir, could be put on backburner for the time being. Issues like poverty alleviation posed bigger challenge to both the countries and needed immediate attention. The Editor of the Dainik Tribune, Mr Naresh Kaushal, regretted that the development reporting had taken a back seat in today's glamour world.

Earlier, Ms Nirupama Dutt, Hamshira convener, hoped that the "people-to-people" interaction could pave the way improved relations between the two neighbours.

Apart from Mr Saleem, Mr Qadeer Ahmed(Manhatten Add Agency), Mr Mansoor Ahmed(Filizia TV) and Mr Khurram Ikram Malik(Fortune TV) comprised the Pakistani team.



Admn seeks public support on encroachments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The UT Administration has sought the support from all quarters for its proposed enforcement drive for removal of encroachments and unauthorised constructions in the UT.

The Administration accords top priority to the public interest and safety while preparing various development plans. The Administration also proposes to educate public about the implications of unauthorised constructions made in violations of rules regulating the planned development of the city.

The incident of building collapse in Bapu Dham colony leading to three human casualty and damages to the adjoining buildings should be an eye opener to the violators of the law, a spokesman said.

It is high time that all residents of the city realise the gravity of the problem. They should lend active support to the campaign of the Administration so that sanctity of the planned city is retained and the development plans are executed in a time-bound manner.

All necessary architectural controls are inbuilt in the various rules and regulations so as to maintain the standards befitting to a planned city. Therefore, it becomes the duty of the residents as well as their representatives to create an awareness regarding the importance of maintaining the plan status of the city in the larger interest and in the interest of the public safety.

The spokesperson of the administration further said everyone should cooperate and support the enforcement drive so that the slur of the encroachments on the city is completely erased and such accidents and tragedy like Bapu Dham do not reoccur.



Let’s join Red Cross, says Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), in a message on the eve of International Red Cross Day called for further giving a momentum to the Red Cross movement by enrolling more volunteers.

General Rodrigues said the theme for the World Red Cross Day this year was “Our Strength — Our committed Volunteers”.

General Rodrigues said this day presents a great opportunity to learn about the international efforts of the Red Cross and also reminds us of our social obligation to minimise the sufferings of humanity and to continue to adhere to the basic principles — humanitarianism, compassion, universality and voluntary service — that universally characterise the Red Cross.

He further said the Punjab State Red Cross had been playing a significant role in mitigating human misery and pain. Apart from the free supply of medicines to thousands of patients, the Red Cross runs 10 maternity and child health centres, 13 homes for children with special needs, 10 drug de-addiction and counselling centres, four artificial limb centres, and three blood banks to serve the people of the state.

Meanwhile, the slum children from Government Elementary School, Nehru Colony, Mohali, visited Punjab Raj Bhavan. General Rodrigues interacted with them and asked the Red Cross volunteers to go to each and every school and educate the students about the objectives of the Red Cross movement.

Ms Jean Rodrigues distributed sweets among the children.



Weathermen predict dust storms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
With the mercury rising by the day, it was a Sunday well-spent indoors by city residents. Though the met department had recorded a fall in temperature by 2 degrees since yesterday, the scorching heat made the resident believe otherwise.

The temperature today was 40.4o C as compared to yesterday's 42o C. The temperature has been steadily increasing in the past week. As compared to the past few years, the temperature is recorded rising. Last year this time the maximum temperature was not more than 35o C.

The day temperatures this year have been 3-5o C above normal. While the city residents are gearing up for the heat, the met department predicted some respite from the heat in the coming days. According to the forecast they have predicted possibility of dust storms or thunder showers with light rain.



BJP holds protest against power cuts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The Chandigarh BJP Mahila Morcha staged a protest at Colony No. 5 here today. Members of the morcha were protesting against frequent water and electricity cuts.

Addressing the residents of the colony, Ms Asha Verma said the Congress government was not paying heed to the people’s plight. The residents had to face power and water cuts for hours everyday. She said the items of daily use had become expensive and gone out of the reach of the common man. Ex-MP Satya Pal Jain also spoke on the occasion.



GCM dismisses Colonel for laying mines without fuses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Four years after India nearly went to war with Pakistan, a colonel has been dismissed from service by a general court martial for laying mines without fuses along the international border.

Sources said that the officer, who was commanding a mechanised infantry regiment during Operation Parakram, the 11-month stand-off against Pakistan, had earlier faced charges under Section 34 of the Army Act, which deal with offences in relation to the enemy and are punishable by death. The alleged acts of omission and commission had been undertaken during a war-like situation.

Later, the charges were reduced to disobedience of lawful command under Section 41 of the Act. This was done after the officer was served the charge sheet subsequent to conclusion of the summary of evidence.

Incidentally, the officer's court martial was conducted under the aegis of Headquarters 24 Infantry Division, where his father had once served as the General Officer Commanding. The GCM, presided by Brig A.K. Sharma, a brigade commander, concluded at Bikaner on Wednesday.

Sources said the area where the mines were laid was just about 7 km from known enemy positions in the Rajasthan Sector. Without fuses, mines do not explode if men or vehicles pass over them and the purpose of laying them is rendered useless. Had things taken a turn for the worse, ineffectual minefield would have failed to deter or delay an enemy advance in that sector.

The colonel had allegedly ordered his subordinate officers not to "arm" the mines by fixing fuses. The case, which is stated to be the first of its kind in the history of the Army, was viewed with grave concern by the top brass.

Sources said the matter first came to light after dogs and other animals digging up mines in the area concerned went unhurt. At other places mines were blowing up when animals dug them up or trod over them. Soon villagers, on noticing this, began to dig up mines themselves and started selling-off the components in the local market.

This activity came to the attention of the intelligence and Army authorities and a court of inquiry (CoI) was ordered into the matter. The CoI, presided by a brigade commander under 24 Infantry Division, held the commanding officer and two other officers blameworthy for laying mines without fuses.

Though the commanding officer had maintained before the CoI that he had not issued any orders to lay mines without fuses, two company commanders of the battalion testified to the contrary, sources said. Thereafter, the Army ordered that the officers be tried by a general court martial. The company commanders are now being tried summarily.



5,000 telephones remain out of order
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Over 5,000 telephone lines in Sectors 38, 39, 41, 55 and 56 and Maloya village remained disrupted on the fourth day due to theft of telephone cables from near Sector 37-41 roundabout.

Workers undertaking the repair work said it would take at least 36 hours to restore the connections. It involved matching several hundred wires.

Meanwhile, harassed subscribers kept on complaining against the Telecom Department for not repairing the cables in time.



Bus of inconvenience

Chandigarh, May 7
At least 40 passengers were taken for a ride by a private bus company today.

The bus of the company, Indo-Canadian Bus Service, commuting between Mohali and Bathinda/Abohar, developed a technical snag with the result that it stopped near Rajpura leaving the passengers high and dry.

Not only that there were allegations that the air conditioner of the bus was not working properly inconveniencing the passengers in this sultry weather. "We were promised a comfortable ride in the deluxe A/C bus", said a harassed, Mr Amandeep Singh.

However, from the start of the journey, the air conditioner was not working properly. The repeated pleas to the bus crew failed to improve things, he complained.

Repeated efforts to contact the company officials proved futile. — TNS



Phool Man Singh Nirankari dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
A prominent resident of the city, Phool Man Singh Nirankari, died here today morning. She was 86. She was the wife of Dr Man Singh Nirankari and mother of an eminent theatre personality, Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry.

Born in Layalpur, she was educated in the Government College for Women, Lahore, where she earned her BA in English Honours. After Partition, she and Dr Man Singh Nirankari settled down in Amritsar, where they were active in various social activities. She was the secretary of the Red Cross Society and Chartered President of the Lioness Club, Amritsar. She was also appointed a non-official visitor of jails by the Punjab Government. During the 1965 war with Pakistan, she was in the forefront in helping wounded soldiers, for which she received commendations from the Army and the Punjab Government.

Dr Man Singh and she moved to Chandigarh in 1998 to be with their daughter Neelam and son-in-law, Pushi Chowdhry. Phool Man Singh Nirankari is survived by her husband, her children—son Dr Verinder, an ophthalmologist who lives in Maryland, USA and daughters, Aruna and Neelam—and grandchildren.

The cremation will be held on Monday at 11.30 am at the Electric Crematorium, Sector 25, Chandigarh.



Plea to start cottage industry projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The Lepro Well Movement launched by the Leprosy Welfare Mission, Chandigarh, in Punjab, Haryana and other adjacent areas has urged the Union Government to start cottage industry projects in kusht ashrams (homes for leprosypatients).

Ms Tejinder Kaur, Rehabilitation Project In charge and Secretary of the Mission, said here today that the mission had surveyed various Kusht ashrams and found that there was an urgent need to provide employment avenues to leprosy affected persons. She said that most such persons wanted to live a life of dignity. Moreover, their children were also going to schools. She said that most of leprosy victims wanted to quit begging and were willing to start their ventures for livelihood.

She said that the president of the Mission, Mr Prem Singh Bhutte, along with Mr Barinder Singh of Jalandhar and Mr Ashwani Sharma of Ropar had held meetings with the leaders of leprosy affected persons to enlist the problems faced by them. She said that as the flow of migrant labour in Punjab, Haryana and even Chandigarh was very high, there was need to hold medical camps on regular basis to detect leprosy patients.



Houses inspected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Public Works Department (Building and Roads), Mr Dharamvir, conducted a surprise inspection of various maintenance works of houses in Sector 39-B and in houses in Sectors 6 and 11 of Panchkula.



Rickshaw-puller ends life
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 7
A rickshaw-puller, in his mid fifties, allegedly hanged himself to death from a tree on the Kajheri road, near Matour village here, this morning.

Sources said the victim had been identified as Ram Avtar of Kajheri village. The body was noticed by some passers-by at around 8:20 am. The police sent it to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

The victim’s wife, a domestic help, told the police that when she left for work in the morning her husband was not at home. She thought that he might have gone to his work and did not care to look for him. Later, the police informed her about the death of her husband.

The couple was living in a makeshift accommodation on the government land. The victim had not been keeping well for a long time.



Vehicles stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 7
Mr Rajeev Kaushal of Dera Sahib Mohalla, Mani Majra, has complained to the police that his Maruti car (CH-01-Q-5611) was stolen from his residence on Friday night. In another incident, Mr Ravinder Singh of ITBP Colony, Sector 32, lodged a complaint with the police that his Bullet motor cycle (PB-08-F-8658 (T)) was stolen from Sector 33 on Saturday.



Exporters demand freight subsidy
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 7
The Mohali Industries Association has urged the Department of Industries to get the requisite funds allocated for the payment of freight subsidy due to exporting units.

The association president said the exporting units had not been getting the subsidy under the Punjab Government scheme for the past three years. The reason was that the department had not allocated the necessary funds for the purpose.

To add to the woes of the exporting units, the department had said that claims had lapsed in the absence of a carry-forward provision under the scheme. The units could be paid subsidy only if funds were available in a particular financial year.

The association said exporters here and in other parts of Punjab had been deprived of their legitimate claims worth crores of rupees in the absence of the freight neutralisation subsidy. This had hit the export efforts in Punjab.

The association sought the allocation of the requisite funds for payment in the pending as well as fresh cases and the incorporation of a provision in the government scheme to carry forward claims from one financial year to the next whenever funds were not available.



New BSNL schemes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited has offered new promotional schemes for the summer vacation.

Under this scheme, no charges for incoming calls will be levied for postpaid customers under Plan 325, Plan 425, Plan 525, Plan 725 and Plan One India.

GOLD SOUK: Aerens Goldsouk International has announced the opening of a gold souk in Chandigarh. While announcing the expansion plans of developing 100 gold souks in 100 cities in India and abroad, Mr G. S. Pillai, Director of the company, said the gold souks would be launched in a phased manner. In the first phase, souks would be opened in Ludhiana and Amritsar, and later in Chandigarh, Ambala, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Jalandhar, Karnal, Rohtak, Shimla and Sonepat.



TV channel’s logo launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
A new TV news channel, Focus, launched its logo and website at Hotel Mountview here last night.

Mr Harchand Singh Barsat, Political Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister, launched the website and the logo.

Mr Surinder Singh, Mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, said the media played an important role in building opinion in society.

Mr Rajiv Puri, managing director of the channel, said the channel was likely to go on air on Independence Day and would commence with the Prime Minister’s speech from Red Fort. It would be a 24-hour national Hindi news channel.


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