L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

NRI living on job allowance
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
NRI Gurbind Singh, who was arrested by Shimla Puri police late last evening from near Mullanpur when he was allegedly solemnising his third marriage against the law of the land, was entering wedlock without having any permanent mode of earning in London.

The 44-year-old accused was living in 19, York Mansions, London on Unemployment Allowance of 44 pounds per week given by the UK government. It was on this measly sum that he hoped to feed his new family.

Admitting this to The Tribune in the presence of police officials, the NRI said he was a motor mechanic earlier. "I passed into serious depression after the divorce of my second wife who hails from Phagwara. I lost all my teeth and am living on the allowance," he said.

He, however, insisted he was not marrying for money. "I have not taken a single penny in dowry," he said

The police lodged a formal FIR against him after much legal sifting of documents. He was booked under Sections 420 (cheating), 498 (dowry), 494 (marrying when wife is present) and 511 (criminal conspiracy). A city court remanded him in police custody till April 29.

The FIR registered on the complaint of Shimla Puri resident Tejinder Kaur, his alleged first abandoned wife, holds immense significance for several other such NRI abandoned brides.

SSP R K Jaiswal had ordered the registration on the grounds that marriage solemnised in India cannot be considered divorced on the basis of an ex-parte divorce order in a foreign country.

Gurbind Singh said he and Tejinder could not get along well due to which he took divorce. "I married for the second time in Phagwara but as I was manglik, that marriage too could not be successful."

He claims he had told all this to the Shekhupura village family where he was marrying for the third time.

Meanwhile, the Shekhupura girl who walked out on the NRI groom yesterday has gone into hiding today. All attempts to meet her on the issue proved futile.

Her parents who requested not to be identified, however, are still in the mood to marry her to the same groom. "He hasn't done any crime. He would be released soon and the marriage as planned would be solemnised."



MC helpless as dogs go on biting spree
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Two stray dogs are on a biting spree in Sarabha Nagar and Lajpat Nagar for the past two days and residents are in a quandary on how to get rid of the menace as none of the government authorities has come to their rescue, citing Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act as the stumbling block in their way.

As many of them are getting bitten everyday and subsequently vaccinated against rabies, the residents have made several SOS calls to the Municipal Corporation and activists of the People for Animals. But nobody has come to their rescue and the dogs are continuing to target people, especially children.

A stray dog had bitten many persons in Lajpat Nagar during the past two days. In Sarabha Nagar also, another stray dog went berserk and bit four persons, including two women and two children, last evening, spreading panic in the area.

The children accompanied by these women were playing in a park when the dog went on a biting spree and attacked two elderly women and children leaving them injured. They were rushed to the nearest health centres.

Later, the residents stayed indoors and did not allow their children to go out. The menacing dog continued to roam freely in the locality in the absence of any authority, who could check the menace.

Similarly in Lajpat Nagar, a dog bit many persons during the past two days. The residents had been making SOS calls to the MC authorities but the latter cited its inability to do anything to sort out the problem.

Last evening, Sarabha Nagar residents called up the Medical Officer, Health, Dr K.J.S. Kakkar of the MC, to come to their rescue by taking the dog away. He said he could not do anything in the case and referred them to an activist of the PFA.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Kakkar said he could not do anything as taking care of a biting dog was not the responsibility of the MC. In his outburst against people ‘‘who were troubling him throughout the previous nights to do something about the dog,’’ Dr Kakkar said, ‘‘If I get the dogs killed, the PFA would get an FIR registered against me and I will be left to make rounds of the court.’’ 



Cover-up bid by MC
3-yr girl drowns in manhole
MC employees get busy in operation cover-up
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Three-year-old Radha drowned while her seven-year-old sister, Jyoti, had a miraculous escape after falling in an open manhole in Jeewan Nagar at about noon today even as the allegedly negligent MC employees launched an operation cover-up instead of owning up the responsibility for the incident.

The Focal Point police booked unidentified employees of the Municipal Corporation under Sections 304 of the IPC for causing death of  the girl due to negligence.

However, while the family and relatives were wailing the loss, a team of MC employees covered the manhole in swift 15-minute work that involved constructing a lintel over the manhole and covering a fast-arranged lid over it.

Police sources said the rescued girl was saved by alert women passersby. The women, all migrant labourers, tied their dupattas and saris together to pull out Jyoti from the manhole.

Pramod Kumar and his wife Mala Devi who were inconsolable told Ludhiana Tribune that when had left their two daughters for playing while going out for daily labour work, they had not imagined in their worst thoughts that they would only be able to see the body of the youngest in the mortuary of civil hospital in the evening and receive the other girl in a badly shaken state.

DSP Harmohan Singh said the police would not spare any person due to whose negligence the girl had died. He said the police had duly recorded the cover-up operation launched by the MC employees after the incident. The police had photographic evidence of their move to destroy evidence.



Cheers! Liquor to be cheaper for 2 days
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 27
With the process of allotment of new liquor shops for the next 11 months beginning May 1 having been completed by the Excise and Taxation Department late evening on Thursday, the prices of both country liquor and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) are set to crash, albeit for just two or three days.

  Stock-clearing discount
Chadha group maintains lead as new shops allotted

Although excise and taxation officials ruled out any major downward trend in the prices of Punjab Medium Liquor (country liquor) of IMFL brands since these were already selling around the minimum prices fixed by the department, some contractors, who either willingly went out of business or failed to get liquor shops for the next year, are expected to clear their stocks by slashing the prices.

Liquor trade circles believe that some of the smaller groups of contractors, or even the cartel run by the Ponty Chadha and Garcha groups, might indulge in the stock-clearing exercise because the department did not easily allow the existing stocks to be carried forward to the next year.

"More often than not, the liquor contarctors are made to surrender the stock at the expiry of their license period as per the prevailing laws," a senior official told Ludhiana Tribune.

The trade circles maintained that, in all probability, quite a few liquor traders, including some L-1 licensees (wholesale traders), would resort to stock-clearing and for the next couple of days, liquor could be sold at throwaway prices at many places in the district to the delight of booze lovers.

Meanwhile, allotment of 876 liquor shops in revenue district of Ludhiana was made through a draw of lots.

The department is set to collect a revenue of Rs 242.76 crore as against Rs 237.30 crore during last year from 509 country liquor shops and 367 those of IMFL.

According to department officials, the total number of shops in the district was curtailed by 129 from those existing in the previous year and some financially unviable shops were eliminated.

Even as the total number of shops has been reduced, the liquor quota for the year has been increased which stood at 93.84 lakh proof litres for country liquor and 70.20 lakh proof litres for IMFL.

If the revised excise policy of allotment of shops through draw of lots aimed at doing away with monopolistic trends and liquor cartels having the sway, it did not have the desired results. This was evident from information collected from different sources, which suggested that the group led by liquor baron Ponty Chadha had further strengthened its hold on the liquor trade, at least in the city limits. As against 52 per cent shops held by this group in the previous year, the Chadha group along with its associates Kewal Chhabra and Amrik Singh Dhillon, managed to get 68 per cent or 125 shops, out of 183, this time within the municipal limits. The cartel managed to get allotment of another 19 shops in Khanna, seven in Jagraon, four in Doraha, two each in Sahnewal and Raikot and three in the Mullanpur area.



Parliamentary delegation leaves for Indonesia

Ludhiana, April 27
A parliamentary delegation led by Lok Sabha deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal has left for Nusa Dua (Bali) in Indonesia to attend the 116th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union to be held there from April 29-May 4.

The delegation comprises Dr Najma Heptulla, Ram Kripal Yadav, Ramchandra Paswan, Jesudasu Seelam, Latil Mohan Suklabaidya, all MPs and J.P. Sharma, joint secretary, Lok Sabha Secretariat is the secretary of the delegation.

An aide of the deputy speaker here said the assembly would mainly be discussing isues like ensuring respect for and peaceful co-existence between all religious communities and beliefs in a globalised world and employment security in the era of globalisation, promoting diversity and equal rights for all through universal democratic and electoral standards.

The IPU is an organisation of 148 member parliaments. The participants to the assembly mainly include the speakers of parliaments, ministers and senior parliamentarians. — TNS



Parties not happy with demarcation of municipal wards
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, April 27
The demarcation of the wards of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has been done and the number of wards has been raised to 75 from 70. Surprisingly, no political party and independent aspirants seeking to contest the election to the municipal corporation are satisfied with the demarcation of the wards.

The elections to the five municipal corporations Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala and Bathinda will be held in June.

The Congress leaders are holding the SAD-BJP combine responsible for the “wrong demarcation” of the wards, while a section of urban Sikhs, owing allegiance to the SAD, has also expressed its annoyance over the role played by the BJP leaders in making the demarcation. This section is also critical of the role played by senior Akali leaders, who after grabbing power, have forgotten the ground-level workers, they alleged.

The Congress is a divided house and senior leaders of the party did not take much interest in the demarcation of the wards. Some senior Congress leaders have gone underground after their defeat in the Vidhan Sabha elections and there is demoralisation among the Congress workers over their (leaders’) attitude. The workers allege that when the Congress was in power in Punjab, these very leaders did not bother about them and were busy in filling their kitties by indulging in real estate business. The workers of the Congress party further allege that these very senior Congress leaders have amassed unlimited wealth during the past five years and are now not ready to take any cudgels against the alleged injustice being done by the ruling combine of SAD-BJP for fear of being framed.

The Congress workers allege that those party leaders who participated in the meetings where the demarcation of the wards was done did not go fully prepared and okayed the demarcation to avoid any confrontation. The Congress workers further allege that the mayor of the municipal corporation, who belongs to the Congress party, did not show any interest in the demarcation process.

Similarly, there is resentment among Akali workers against the BJP leaders who, they allege, have used their influence and got the wards demarcated according to their political convenience. The Akali workers further allege that the BJP leadership is taking full advantage of the local bodies portfolio which is with the BJP leader Manoranjan Kalia and are not ready to listen to reason.

These Akali workers are also unhappy with the Akali leaders who have now got berths in the government for not watching their interests.

The local Akali leaders maintain that the BJP should not forget the victory of the BJP candidates in the Vidhan Sabha elections was made possible with their support.

Local Akali leaders are contemplating to meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal soon to bring to their notice the irregularities in the wards demarcation and seek justice for them.



Delimitation haphazard: Senior dy mayor
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The map of the delimitation of wards in Ludhiana was prepared at midnight on April 23 and none of the local officials were allowed in the local bodies department. Even city mayor Nahar Singh Gill was kept away from the entire process.

The need to prepare the map arose from the fact that the delimitation committee of Ludhiana had sent two different maps to the local bodies department. The first proposed map prepared by the local government was said to have discrepancies by the SAD and BJP councillors. The delimitation committee had then decided to send two maps for approval.

But none of the maps found favour with the local bodies department, Government of Punjab, which prepared a map in the middle of night, just a few hours before releasing it to the local body.

Levelling these allegations, senior deputy mayor Prem Mittal said the officials and SAD-BJP leaders did not even allow the city mayor to attend that meeting. He alleged that the map was a haphazard delimitation of wards.

He added that the wards were renamed haphazardly and none of the guidelines were followed to prepare these. ‘‘They have reserved every ward that was a stronghold of a Congress councillor. That is why the erratic delimitation. ’’ he said.

Even the population limit has not been properly followed. As per the rules, the limit should have been 19,000 voters in every ward. But as per the new plan, there are 18,000 in some and 25,000 in others.

The numbering of wards was to be done in clockwise direction, but in this case, they numbered the Miller Ganj area as 53, Bharat Nagar as 54 and Abdullapur Basati coming in the middle as 64 number.

The senior deputy mayor said that the District Congress Committee was preparing objections and was going to submit these to principal secretary.



Koomkalan goes to Khanna
Dakha is now in Ludhiana-Urban police district
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The new police districts of Ludhiana-Urban, Ludhiana-Rural have finally come into place with a revised demarcation of areas of Khanna police district as well. DIG Ishwar Singh issued the formal orders in this regard today.

The main highlight of the revised districts is for the residents of Mullanpur Dakha. Dakha police station will now fall under the jurisdiction of Ludhiana -Urban headed by R K Jaiswal. The complainants would have to travel a little less now to Ludhiana city instead of Jagraon in order to approach the higher authorities.

Similarly, Koomkalan police station falling earlier under Ludhiana has been merged into Khanna police district now under SSP Gautam Cheema. This would felicitate better policing as Machhiwara police station is already in Khanna. Koomkalan is the sixth police station with Khanna police now.

The Jagraon city and Sadar police station under SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar have been merged to be called police station Jagraon only. The erstwhile police station would be called Ludhiana-Rural with headquarters at Jagraon till new district headquarter is provided in Ludhiana. It would have six police stations instead of eight earlier.

A senior punjab police official said Dakha has been merged into Ludhiana for better policing. He said with the mushrooming of many marriage palaces along the Ludhiana-Mullanpur road, which were more used by local residents, people were finding it cumbersome to go to Jagraon for redress of grievances or in matters related to accidents or marriage disputes.

Further, the police officials were feeling that the urban and rural demarcation of police districts was important as rural and urban policing were different in nature and handling.

Officials said while in urban areas traffic management was a major problem, in rural areas there were more land and agricultural related issues.

SSP R K Jaiswal said he would visit Dakha soon to see what kind of policing would be best for the area.



Labourers demand increase in minimum wages
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Labour activity in the industrial town is once again expected to pick up. Workers, who have been assuming a relatively low profile, have not only chalked out a comprehensive awareness generation programme but have also threatened to resort to agitation if revision in minimum wages is not affected at the earliest.

Alleging that even the Akalis are not giving due importance to workers' rights, labourers expressed disappointment that their situation has not improved over the years.

"The minimum wage in Punjab is only Rs 2,525 a month whereas that in Haryana is Rs 3,510. Earlier the Congress kept sidelining the issues concerning workers and now even Akalis are meting our a similar treatment. This, despite the fact that excesses on labour and resultant labour unrest assumed alarming proportions a few months ago," said Jagdish Chand, secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

To assert their rights, labourers have prepared massive plans for May 1, which is celebrated as May Day. While nukkad meetings to prepare plan of action have already started, a large number of posters by workers detailing the "rights they are being denied" are also being pasted in various areas in the city.

"It is sad that our major demands are the same that were a few years ago because not much was done by the previous government too to improve the plight of the working class. We want revision in minimum wages, proper implementation of labour laws, revision in Factories Act 1948 and want that factories should give workers the benefits that are due to them like PF, medical benefits etc."

Representatives of workers said the government was not paying any attention to their problems as they did not form political vote bank. "Punjabi labourers are not so aware. It is quite visible and you can go to any place, ranging from old bazaars where daily wagers are appointed to plush shopping complexes, the treatment is the same. They are made to work for hours much longer than eight and are denied of minimum wages.

Unawareness of Punjabi workers and the fact that migrant workers do not have votes here are the reasons that governments do not even think of paying attention to the issues concerning them. But we will not sit quietly are determined to fight for our rights."

They said if the government does not listen to their problems, they would not hesitate to resort to agitation. "It has been quite a long time that we have kept waiting for the government to accede to our demands. If this time they fail to do so we would be forced to resort to agitation soon."



Tale of treachery and dejection
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
When Tejinder Kaur, a resident of Janta Nagar had married an NRI bridegroom 10 years ago, little had she realised that her life would become a tale of treachery and dejection and she would have to wage a long battle for her rights.

At that time she was studying in BA-I and she had left her studies thinking she would fly to the world of opportunities and spend the rest of her life there.

Her big dream turned into a nightmare and when she was hoping that she would gather bits and pieces of her broken life, she got another jolt when she found out that her husband was marrying another girl of Mullanpur Dakha yesterday.

Gurbind Singh, her hero turned into a villain, had stolen her heart in their first meeting when her uncle had struck a match between the two. They got married in 1997 only to live together for 10 days. And then it was a long wait that ended yesterday but leaving her shattered forever.

‘‘I do not know whether I would be able to forgive this man or not. I am completely shaken. So much so that I cannot even identify my feelings for him.’’ she said while waiting for her turn in a local court.

‘‘I did not know he would do this to me. The entire family was very sweet and sugary when we were to marry. Later on also they enjoyed our hospitality and left with a promise they would send for me soon. But that was not to happen. My husband never talked to me again and only his mother would attend to our calls and demand money. She said I needed to pay at least Rs 30 lakh if I wanted to visit them.’’

Ten years passed when she kept on hoping that things would settle down soon. She did not know her husband had taken an ex-parte divorce and had ever married another girl from Phagwara.

Stitching clothes to earn her livelihood, Tejinder Kaur has decided to fight it out with the help of Indian laws. ‘‘I have already wasted 10 precious years of my life. No more now. I wish I had woken up earlier and not waited for him. ’’ she said.

She added that she should have smelt a rat when her husband had left her after 10 days while he had promised that he would stay for a month. ‘‘Then my mother-in-law also left saying my father-in-law was not well in London and she would call me there soon. They all befooled me and I was taken in. ’’

More than anyone else she is sore with the apathy of parents of girls, who push them into marriages with NRIs despite listening to so many stories. ‘‘I was cheated as the phenomenon had just started at that time. But now it is too common and the parents are still driven by their greed to settle their daughters abroad. ’’ 



Protest against distorting image of Bhagat Singh
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 27
Members of Krantikari Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal protested against the creators of stickers and makers of video games for distorting images of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, today morning at Jagraon Bridge.

Stickers and cartoons of Bhagat Singh in the garb of Spider Man are being sold in the market.

The protesters demand from the administration to nab makers of these objectionable stickers and punish them for distorting the sacred image of the martyr. They further said stringent laws should be made so that no one repeats the same mistake again.

The president of Sewa Dal Sarwan Atri said the company that created such offensive stickers should apologise at Khat Khat Kalan, the birth place of Bhagat Singh. Vice president Sandeep Verma, Gurmeet Sharma and many other members were present at the protest meet.



Bitta files complaint
Ravi Inder Singh Makkar

Machhiwara, April 27
Lashing on the sticker making companies which used the face of martyr Bhagat Singh as a comic character in video games, the president of All India Anti-Terrorist Front, Maninderjit Singh Bitta, has warned the administration that if it failed to take stern action against the erring companies within one month, a petition would be filed in Punjab and Haryana High Court. Bitta along with K. L. Mintu got a complaint registered against the sticker printing companies.

Bitta appealed to the Punjab government to install portraits and statues of Bhagat Singh in all the educational institutions of the state. He further urged the government spend Rs 2.5 crore sanctioned by the Narsimha Rao government for a light and sound programme at Jallianwala Bag.

He said the front would celebrate 100th birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi in September.



Book on Gurbani released

Ludhiana, April 27
"O mind, give up your cleverness and surrender unto the Supreme Lord" is the core message of title of the book ‘Chhaad Syanap Sagli Manaa’ which was released at a function organised by Gurbani Research and Study Centre, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle at Model Town Extension, here on Thursday.

The book is written by Baldev Singh, deputy general manager, Vigilance, Punjab and Sind Bank, Delhi, and is published by the literature and publication wing of the study circle.

While releasing the book, Dr Khem Singh, former VC of PAU, congratulated the writer for sharing and revealing his experiences about Gurbani study. Balprit Singh and Divjot Singh presented the title shabad gayan. — OC



World Veterinary Day today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 27
World Veterinary Day will be celebrated by the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), here, today. The vice-chancellor of GADVASU, V.K. Taneja, will inaugurate the vaccination and deworming camp on the campus.

A anti-rabies vaccine, anti-tick bath, deworming and consultancy free of cost will be provided by experts to animal owners.

The chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India, Major-General R.M. Kharb (retd), will address the veterinarians and students.



Soldiers deserve honour, says body
P.S. Batra

Samrala, April 27
At a meeting of the Ex-Servicemen Association, Samrala, presided over by Major Harchand Singh Neelon (retd), the members expressed concern at rising number of suicides by soldiers and at soldiers being mocked at specially when they returned from leave.

Showing that our national security personal were a frustrated, disappointed and depressed lot, the members said the same had also been observed by the supreme commanders of the Armed forces, the Prime Minister, defence minister and the three Army chiefs who are also worried about such incidents.

Despite the corrective measures by authorities the ex-servicemen said that only giving perks was not enough and that the soldiers deserve honour.

They demanded retention of their ranks earned during active service.



One held on charge of drug-peddling 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 27
The hike in the prices of wheat chaff, leading to increased trend of manual reaping with sickles, has resulted in increased demand for drugs and narcotics, as these are asked for labourers for working overtime.

The revelation was made by Gurnam Singh, son of Bakar Singh of Kakkar Tihara village, who was nabbed by a team led by Dharam Pal, SHO Sidhwan Bet from fields on the outskirts of Parjian Biharipur village while he was going to distribute drugs to farmers and labourers yesterday.

Two bags of drugs, narcotics and a motor cycle (PB-10-DP-7428) were seized from his possession.

According to SSP Ludhiana (Rural), Gurpreet Singh Bhullar increased trend of manual reaping of wheat due to hike in the prices of wheat chaff had resulted in increased demand of drugs and narcotics.

"We used to go to the fields to supply poppy husk to farmers and agricultural labourers as they offered higher price than the routine rate. As my wife used to go with me nobody, including the police, suspected us," the accused stated before the Sidhwan police. While the drugs were sold at the rate of Rs 500 to 600 per kg in normal days, scarcity of the product enabled smugglers charge double the rate also.



Foreign holidaymakers on the rise 
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
A trip overseas, that was once in a lifetime chance for many earlier, has now become an option city residents are trying for every year. Thanks to increased competition and availability of low-cost packages the number of tourists has not only increased but also generated several new segments like students and singles going on a holiday overseas on a regular basis.

"A significant change in trends has been witnessed particularly in this region in the past few years. Unlike earlier when holidaying was restricted to visiting the nearest hill station these days spending even lesser amount can ensure a good holiday abroad," said Vijay Chadda, CEO, Select Vacations, which launched its exclusive holiday shop here yesterday.

The trend is attributed to rising incomes, increased competition and improvement in awareness levels, which has popularised the concept of going on a holiday alone. An emerging market is that of students. Realising the importance of better exposure, parents too are encouraging when it comes to sending their children on holidays overseas.

"While earlier holiday plans were dependent on convenience of entire family, and even friends, these days such constraints do not exist and a large number even go out alone."

Popular destinations are Malaysia, Thailand and European nations.

In domestic tourism also concepts like weekend holidays are getting popular. "There are quite economical packages available for weekend holidays, these could start at as low as Rs 3,000. Besides, domestic travel packages too have witnessed a significant decline in charges," said Chadda.

He said TUI India offers holiday options to people according to their suitability. It was also planning to open shops in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore and would soon increase the number of its travel agents to 250.



Diamond mela kicks off
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
In an endeavor to generate awareness among people on diamonds, Divine Cut has started a 'Diamond Mela' in the city.

The three-day event will give people opportunity to interact with experts in the field and know various aspects of their purchases.

"It is important that those in trade generate awareness. Various issues like re-selling, quality, certification etc cannot be ignored but most people are not aware about them," said Bhavesh Sheth, all-India manager for Divine Cut.

He said the solitaires by the company are cut with 57 facets which gives maximum brilliance. Besides, the diamonds provided by the company are not chemically treated.

Talking about the market, Sheth said growth in demand was consistently rising for diamonds. "Earlier demand for gold was on the higher side, but now diamonds are sharing an equal market," he said.



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