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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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Sealing preferable to paying conversion rates, say traders
New Delhi, November 29
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), spearheading the traders’ protest against sealing of illegal commercial establishments in the Capital, has said that traders would prefer to have their establishments sealed rather than pay ‘huge’ conversion charges announced by the government.

‘Remove encroachments from MCD land to rehabilitate traders’
New Delhi, November 29
MCD councillors cutting across party lines today demanded rehabilitation of traders affected by the sealing drive. A suggestion in this regard was put forward by Congress councillor Sanjay Puri who called upon the administration to free hundreds of acres of MCD land in Delhi from encroachment and utilize it to relocate traders whose commercial premises had been sealed.

MCD seals 349 units
New Delhi, November 29
After going at a slow pace over the last few days, the sealing drive of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today picked up momentum with the sealing of 349 units in Shahdara and Karol Bagh Zones.



EARLIER STORIES


Village-level women committees to be set up
Move aimed at encouraging community participation in development programmes
Faridabad, November 29
Haryana Government has announced the setting up of village-level committees of women to encourage community participation in development programmes related to women and children.

Fire drill to be held in Gurgaon cinema hall
Gurgaon, November 29
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) would conduct a fire drill in a cinema auditorium at DT Centre Mall here on December 1. This would be the second such exercise by the NDMA.

AIDS patients plead for ‘second line treatment’
NEW DELHI, December 29
Over 200 patients suffering from HIV/AIDS gathered in front of Jantar Mantar today ahead of a three-day dharna to urge the government to provide new AIDS drugs - referred to as second line treatment - to those who needed them.

Gang of interstate criminals busted, 4 held
New Delhi, November 29
Police today claimed to have arrested a gang of interstate criminals from Rohini area for a spate of armed robberies in Ludhiana and Aligarh. The accused, Khurram (31), Iqbal (35) and Abid Hussain (42), were nabbed when they were planning to rob a petrol pump.




Khurram, Iqbal and Abid Hussain, members of an interstate gang involved in more than 40 cases, in police custody. — A Tribune photograph
Khurram, Iqbal and Abid Hussain, members of an interstate gang involved in more than 40 cases, in police custody

Two held for possession of RDX
New Delhi, November 29
Delhi Police’s Special Cell today claimed to have arrested two members of terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohd (JeM), Mushtaq Ahmed and Mohd Iqbal, from the Old Delhi Railway Station area and recovered Rs 5 lakh in cash and 2 kg of RDX from them.


Mustaq Ahmes Kallo and Mohd Iqbal, terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohd, arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell, being produced before the media in the Capital on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi
Mustaq Ahmes Kallo and Mohd Iqbal, terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohd, arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell, being produced before the media in the Capital

Forum holds parking contractor liable for car theft
New Delhi, November 29
A consumer forum has directed an MCD parking contractor to pay Rs 1.23 lakh to the owner of a car which was stolen from his parking lot.“Since the car was stolen while it was in the custody of the contractor, he is guilty of deficiency in service,” said the District Forum Bench (South-I) headed by its President GD Dhanuka and Member SC Kaushik.

Left supports tribals for passage of ST Bill, 2005
New Delhi, November 29
Tribals and forest dwellers from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh today demonstrated at Jantar Mantar. They demanded the Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill 2005, with amendments recommended by the Joint Parliamentary Committee to be passed.

School denies interviewing kids
New Delhi, November 29
Reacting to a report carried by the Tribune yesterday about the interviews for admission to KG classes at Queen Mary’s school, Mayiur Vihar, the school administration today clarified that children will not be put through any interview or test.

Visitors being checked by the Delhi Police personnel during the testimony of Bharti Yadav, at Patiala House Court in the Capital
Visitors being checked by the Delhi Police personnel during the testimony of Bharti Yadav, at Patiala House Court in the Capital on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

IGNOU sued for failure to supply study material
New Delhi, November 29
The Delhi High Court today issued notice to the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) on the petition of a student seeking directions to the university to supply him with study material to pursue his MA (Sociology) course.

IGNOU exams from December 1
New Delhi, November 29
Around three lakh students will appear for the mid-term examination of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), commencing from December 1. The university has established 536 examination centres, including 33 overseas centres and 14 centres in jails for prisoners. Detailed hall-ticket status for candidates is available on the university website www.ignou.ac.in

Delhi University student found dead in his house
New Delhi, November 29 In an act of alleged suicide, a 24-year-old student of Delhi University was today found hanging from the ceiling fan at his house in a South Delhi locality. Sudhir Kumar was found hanging at his home in Netaji Nagar area this afternoon. The door of his room was locked from inside, police said.

Further drop in temperature
New Delhi, November 29
Cold wave conditions continued in the Capital for the fourth consecutive day today as mercury dropped to the lowest of the season at 7.3 degree Celsius. The minimum temperature today was three degrees below normal, while the maximum too dropped to 23 degree C, one degree below normal.

 







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Sealing preferable to paying conversion rates, say traders
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), spearheading the traders’ protest against sealing of illegal commercial establishments in the Capital, has said that traders would prefer to have their establishments sealed rather than pay ‘huge’ conversion charges announced by the government.

A delegation which met Urban Development Minister Mr Jaipal Reddy on Tuesday termed the proposal to levy conversion charges as impractical and criticised the administrative machinery of neglecting ground realties without ‘application of mind’.

Submitting a conversion table based on the conversion charges framed by the government to Mr Reddy, the CAIT delegation demanded amendment of the proposed rates. Traders said that the conversion charges will force them to either have their business establishments sealed or close them voluntarily since carrying on with business by paying high conversion charges annually will render them unprofitable.

The Minister assured the delegation that he would personally review the charges, a demand also raised in Parliament by some members.

The chart of conversion rates compiled by the CAIT indicates that traders using the ground floor in a plot measuring 1000 sq. ft. will have to pay around Rs 53,000 in EFG category annually whereas in CD category, this amount shall be about 1.42 lakh. In A & B category, it will be about Rs 2.13 lakh. The government has also levied one time parking charges of about Rs 66,000 in EFG category, Rs 1.49 lakh in CD category and Rs 2.10 lac in A&B category per car.

The CAIT termed such charges as ‘quite purposeless and unjustified’, saying that the Center has itself admitted failure of civic agencies in the Capital to provide civic amenities. As such , traders are being penalized on account of non-application of mind by bureaucrats, it said.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers operating in DDA flats are also worried in view of news reports that these too shall be sealed. The CAIT said that most of the shops operating in DDA flats were involved 
in the business of daily need items and fulfill day-to-day requirements of residents.

The trade leaders further said that when the Supreme Court has allowed 
business operation in 20 sq. mt area in about 25 categories of items, the benefit of such list must be given to shops in DDA flats as well.

The CAIT has also demanded a comprehensive parking policy. Mean while, the DPCC at an executive meeting held today also demanded slashing of ‘exorbitant’ conversion charges announced by the Union Urban Development Ministry for regularisation of residential constructions and commercialization.

It also demanded that the conversion charges for commercial activities should be levied only once rather than on an annual basis. There were also detailed deliberations on the 2021 Master Plan to ensure that it was not challenged at any forum and did not have shortcomings like that in the 2001 Master Plan.

DPCC president Mr Ram Babu Shrama said that the regularisation charges for unauthorised constructions in residential areas should be reduced. He said that according to the conversion charges notified by the government in E, F and G category colonies for plots measuring 50 metere, the regularisation charges would be a minimum Rs 31,000, thus adding to the taxes. It will be difficult for ordinary citizens to pay this amount, he said.

People who own plots measuring 100 meters in A, B and C, D categories would have to pay more than Rs 4.50 lakh and Rs 1.75 lakh respectively. This is totally unjustified.

He said that as far as conversion charges for commercial activities were concerned, there was no justification for the high charges imposed.

The executive committee felt that around 1,500 unauthorised colonies should be regularised without further delay and without paying any development charges as was done in 1976-77 by the late prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Such a step would benefit lakhs of ordinary people, he said. Areas marked for commercial activities in walled city in 1962 Master Plan should be shown as mixed land use in the subsequent zonal plans. The executive committee demanded that status quo should be maintained on all commercial establishments existing as per the Master Plan of 1962 and no conversion charges should be levied on them. People living in resettlement colonies should be given ownership rights without payment of any development charges.

Laws should also be formulated to protect the interest of the JJ settlers and ‘rehri-patri khomcha’ sellers without disturbing their lives.

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‘Remove encroachments from MCD land to rehabilitate traders’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
MCD councillors cutting across party lines today demanded rehabilitation of traders affected by the sealing drive.
A suggestion in this regard was put forward by Congress councillor Sanjay Puri who called upon the administration to free hundreds of acres of MCD land in Delhi from encroachment and utilize it to relocate traders whose commercial premises had been sealed.

The MCD should also endeavour to set up banquet halls in the land owned by it to meet the huge need of space for social functions following closure of a large number of halls, Mr Puri suggested. In this context, he called upon the administration to speed up efforts to free from encroachment hundreds of acres of MCD land in Delhi, a proposal which was echoed by members cutting across party lines.

Speaking on the issue, Leader of the House Jitender Kochar said that the administration should make a list of places where the MCD owned such land, especially that under encroachment.

This huge expanse of land can be put to use by the MCD for earning revenue as well as for the purpose of rehabilitating traders.

After taking opinions of all the members of the Standing Committee, Chairman Jai Kishen Sharma directed the Municipal Commissioner to submit to the House a list of the MCD land presently under encroachment.

Hundereds of acres of land owned by the MCD in Delhi is under encroachment.

While focussing on sealing of shops, the matter of freeing corporation land from encroachment has been ignored.

This should be addressed immediately, Mr Sharma said, and called for a special meeting of the committee on Monday to decide on ways to utilise the land, including the rehabilitation of the traders.

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MCD seals 349 units
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
After going at a slow pace over the last few days, the sealing drive of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today picked up momentum with the sealing of 349 units in Shahdara and Karol Bagh Zones.

Of these, 336 units were sealed at Madhu Vihar in Shahdara (South) Zone while 10 units were sealed at Jail Road and Najafgarh Road falling in West Zone. Three units were sealed at Arya Samaj Road falling in Karol Bagh Zone.

With today’s sealing, the tally of commercial units sealed in Delhi since the sealing drive resumed on November 8 as per the orders of the Supreme Court rose to 2,171.

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Village-level women committees to be set up
Move aimed at encouraging community participation in development programmes
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 29
Haryana Government has announced the setting up of village-level committees of women to encourage community participation in development programmes related to women and children.

The 12-member committee will be led by an elected woman panch and will include women involved in various social activities. According to the notification issued by the government recently, such a committee will oversee the implementation of all programmes relating to child and woman development. It will maintain records of children with regard to birth, survival, nutrition, health, education and immunization schemes.

The body would be expected to meet at least once a month to discuss various issues and the proceedings would be recorded by the convener of the committee.

The committee will be known as village-level co-ordination committee under the ICDS programme of the Union Government and in addition to routine work, it could also work to deal with issues like domestic violence, dowry, female foeticide and early marriage.

A communication from the Women and Child Development Department of Haryana Government says that all woman panches would be associated with this committee. The committee would have a savings bank account in which necessary funds for the implementation of the programme would be deposited in advance on a quarterly basis.

The disbursement of honorarium to Anganwadi workers would be done from this account. The account could be operated jointly by two woman panches and an Anganwadi worker.

The Supplementary Nutrition Programme would be carried out by this committee through Women Self-Help Groups (SHG).

The committee will have about a dozen members including a lady teacher in a government school, a multipurpose health worker, head of a mahila mandal, representative of war widow, if any, three educated adolescent girls (of which one will be from scheduled castes), a representative of an NGO, if any, the village chowkidar, and all Anganwadi workers.

One of the Anganwadi workers will function as convener of the committee.

Though the government has not announced any honorarium to the head and members of the committee, the union of the Anganwadi workers and helpers in Haryana has opposed the move, claiming that it will cause hurdles in their routine work.

The union also demanded the status of a government employee for the members.

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Fire drill to be held in Gurgaon cinema hall
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, November 29
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) would conduct a fire drill in a cinema auditorium at DT Centre Mall here on December 1.
This would be the second such exercise by the NDMA.

The first drill was held for a mock chemical disaster at Greater Noida Industrial Area of Gautam Budh Nagar on October 6.

Brig (Dr) B K Khanna, an NDMA specialist and Coordinator for Exercise Gurgaon (Fire) informed that the objective of the exercise is to review the emergency response of the Gurgaon administration and evaluate the standard operating procedure of DT Centre against fire hazards.

Mr Khanna informed that all heads of key departments of Gurgaon — civil administration, police, health, fire, water, electricity, labour, telecom, public relation, civil defence, Red Cross Society, etc would participate in the exercise which would involve a mock fire in which several people are killed and injured.

All persons present at the mall at that time would be evacuated and traffic diverted to weigh the capability of officers in case of a natural or manmade disaster hitting the city, Brig Khanna said.

To spread awareness about the disasters, the RWAs, NGOs and even some schoolchildren have been invited to witness the exercise as spectators, he said.

Such an exercise also helps identify and practise in areas of public private partnership in disaster management and coordination among various emergency support functions at district level, he added.

General N C Vij (retd), Vice-Chairman of NDMA, would be present on the occasion to supervise the drill.

The exercise would also involve a battalion of the newly-raised National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

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AIDS patients plead for ‘second line treatment’
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, December 29
Over 200 patients suffering from HIV/AIDS gathered in front of Jantar Mantar today ahead of a three-day dharna to urge the government to provide new AIDS drugs - referred to as second line treatment - to those who needed them.

The dharna is being organized by the Indian Network for People living with HIV/AIDS (INP+) and Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+). It will culminate in a rally at Jantar Mantar on December 1, which is observed as the World AIDS Day.

“Under the government programme, people living with HIV/AIDS in India cannot get new or improved drugs that can make a critical difference in saving our lives,” says Loon Gangte, President of DNP+.

According to medical experts, persons living with HIV need to switch over to newer ‘second-line’ drug regimens after a few years after they develop resistance/toxicity to their first set of medications.

In August this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its anti-retroviral guidelines for HIV/AIDS treatment in developing countries and recommended newer AIDS drugs like tenofovir (TDF), lopinavir/ritonavir for first and second-line regimens.

“It is a cruel irony that although Indian pharmaceutical companies are producing these new AIDS drugs, these are exported and not available in the country” says Elango Ramachandar, President of INP+.

There are about 44,000 people receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART) from the government and several Persons Living with HIV/AIDS are in urgent need of the newer ‘second-line’ drugs, says K.K. Abraham of INP+.

“Patients who need second line treatment are experiencing a drastic decrease in their CD4 counts, an increase in the viral load in the bodies and continuous weight loss. If the government does not act soon, it will be too late for many of us,” he said.

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Gang of interstate criminals busted, 4 held
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, November 29
Police today claimed to have arrested a gang of interstate criminals from Rohini area for a spate of armed robberies in Ludhiana and Aligarh. The accused, Khurram (31), Iqbal (35) and Abid Hussain (42), were nabbed when they were planning to rob a petrol pump.

Three pistols along with seven live cartridges were allegedly recovered from their possession.

The gang was allegedly involved in over 40 cases of armed robberies and dacoities, including a murderous attack on a businessman in Ludhiana.

Police claimed that the gang members were notorious for opening fire without provocation and were wanted for various crime cases in Punjab, UP and Delhi.

The search of the accused persons also led to the recovery of certain articles which were allegedly part of the booty of an armed robbery committed only a few days ago in Ludhiana.

One of the accused, Abid Ali, a yarn dealer in Ludhiana, used to supply inside information to gang members about businessmen carrying large amounts of cash, DCP (Crime and Railways) told TNS.

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Two held for possession of RDX
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, November 29
Delhi Police’s Special Cell today claimed to have arrested two members of terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohd (JeM), Mushtaq Ahmed and Mohd Iqbal, from the Old Delhi Railway Station area and recovered Rs 5 lakh in cash and 2 kg of RDX from them.

The arrests were made after a tip-off that a JeM terrorist would be arriving at the Old Delhi Railway Station by Kalka-Delhi Express from Deoband in UP to deliver a consignment of explosives to one of his accomplices.

Both of them were apprehended near Kodia bridge in the station area with the explosive and cash. They allegedly confessed to being associated with the JeM terrorist outfit. They were to deliver the consignment and cash for carrying out terrorist activities in Delhi and other parts of the country.

Mohd Iqbal allegedly disclosed that he was running a gas agency in Bandipora in J&K. In the last week of October this year, he was introduced by a JeM operative Mohd Amin to assist Pak militants in the valley, DCP (Special Cell) told TNS.

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Forum holds parking contractor liable for car theft
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, November 29
A consumer forum has directed an MCD parking contractor to pay Rs 1.23 lakh to the owner of a car which was stolen from his parking lot.“Since the car was stolen while it was in the custody of the contractor, he is guilty of deficiency in service,” said the District Forum Bench (South-I) headed by its President GD Dhanuka and Member SC Kaushik.

Dismissing the plea that the parking slip was ‘fake’, the Forum observed that the contractor should have proved that the slip was spurious by producing the current parking slip before the police where an FIR was registered by the owner for theft of his car.

It also rejected the contention of the contractor that the car was not parked in the authorised parking area and that the car keys were not handed over to him.

The forum also dismissed the contractor’s plea that the owner could claim the loss from the insurance company since the insurance stood in the name of the car’s first owner on the fateful day.

Sunil Kumar Jha, a resident of Vasant Vihar in South Delhi, had on May 16, 2003 parked his Maruti Zen car in the authorised parking area outside Alankar Cinema in Lajpat Nagar and was issued a slip by an attendant of Jagdamba Singh, the contractor of the MCD parking, the complaint said.

Jha also handed over the keys of the car to the attendant but when he returned after a few hours, he found the car missing. When he queried the attendant, he denied having issued any slip to him for parking his car there.

Jha lodged an FIR with the Lajpat Nagar police station for the theft of his car the next day.

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Left supports tribals for passage of ST Bill, 2005
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Tribals and forest dwellers from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh today demonstrated at Jantar Mantar. They demanded the Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill 2005, with amendments recommended by the Joint Parliamentary Committee to be passed.

The meeting at Jantar Mantar was the culmination of a march that began in Jhandewala, winding its way through Paharganj, Ajmeri Gate, Ranjit Singh flyover, Barakhamba Road and Tolstoy Marg.

The meeting was addressed by Ms Brinda Karat (CPM), Mr D. Raja (CPI), Mr C. K. Chandrappan (CPI and member of the JPC), Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), Appadurai (CPI), B.D. Sharma (Bharat Jan Andolan), Dileep Singh Bhuria (Gondwana Ganatantrak Party), Juel Oram (BJP and member of the JPC), Abani Roy (RSP), Kuldeep Nayyar, and other leaders.

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School denies interviewing kids
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Reacting to a report carried by the Tribune yesterday about the interviews for admission to KG classes at Queen Mary’s school, Mayiur Vihar, the school administration today clarified that children will not be put through any interview or test.

In a letter the manager on behalf of the school’s administration said, “I have to inform you that no interview of Nursery / KG kids are being held in this school.

This information has already been displayed 
in the school notice board”.

NGO Right to Education Task Force has submitted a written complaint to Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit about the school’s decision to conduct interviews for children.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal of the NGO had also sent a notice to the school pointing out that the school was violating a Delhi High Court directive that bans interviewing small children for getting admission.

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IGNOU sued for failure to supply study material
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The Delhi High Court today issued notice to the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) on the petition of a student seeking directions to the university to supply him with study material to pursue his MA (Sociology) course.

Justice Anil Kumar directed the University, which imparts education through correspondence courses, to file its reply in an affidavit by March 15, the next date of hearing. Amar Bahadur Ghartimagar, a student of MA (Sociology, Hindi medium), submitted a petition claiming that he was not provided with the study material despite sending six reminders to the university authorities through e-mail in October and November, 2006.

The petition filed by counsel Ashok Agrwal said the students are required to submit their assignments and projects by December 31, 2006 and March 31, 2007 respectively, but are yet to receive the study materials.

Like Ghartimagar, other students Preeti Verma, Mamta, Shashikar Bhardwaj, Manju Sharma had paid Rs 2,800 to the university and thereby the institution was obliged to supply the study material, said the petition.

The petitioner had sought the direction of the court for the supply of the study material at the earliest so that the students could start their studies.

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IGNOU exams from December 1
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Around three lakh students will appear for the mid-term examination of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), commencing from December 1.
The university has established 536 examination centres, including 33 overseas centres and 14 centres in jails for prisoners. Detailed hall-ticket status for candidates is available on the university website www.ignou.ac.in

The university registrar, Mr Srikant Mohapatra, informed that centres have been instructed to permit students to write their papers even if they do not possess the hall ticket but their names figure in the examinee list.

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Delhi University student found dead in his house

New Delhi, November 29
In an act of alleged suicide, a 24-year-old student of Delhi University was today found hanging from the ceiling fan at his house in a South Delhi locality.
Sudhir Kumar was found hanging at his home in Netaji Nagar area this afternoon. The door of his room was locked from inside, police said.

He was a second year BA correspondence student of the university.

His father is an employee of Government

Press while his mother works with MTNL.

No suicide note has been recovered from his possession. — PTI

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Further drop in temperature
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Cold wave conditions continued in the Capital for the fourth consecutive day today as mercury dropped to the lowest of the season at 7.3 degree Celsius.
The minimum temperature today was three degrees below normal, while the maximum too dropped to 23 degree C, one degree below normal.

Cold wave conditions are likely to persist for the rest of the week with weathermen forecasting that no significant change is expected in the temperature during the next 48 hours. Moreover, they have pointed out the minimum temperature would dip to 7 degree C by tomorrow.

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