‘Medical tourism can boomerang economy’
Sanjay Bumbroo and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, May 4
Medical tourism can surely work as a catalyst for economic makeover of the holy city, echoed some leading medical specialists, who have carved their name in the medical annals of the country and abroad.

Backing the sentiments of a large medical fraternity here, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, said that he would take up the issue with the Ministry of External Affairs for providing medical visas on priority to Pakistani patients to visit Amritsar for treatment as this would allow them not only quality cure but an economical one too.

Sidhu who had been spearheading the campaign for setting up of visa centers at Lahore and Amritsar to facilitate easy access to the people to cross over without any hassle. He said that the governments must encourage medical tourism which could become a harbinger of prosperity and above all allow over Pakistani brethren good quality treatment at a reasonable package.

Talking about the quality of medical treatment, Sidhu said that Amritsar had produced a galaxy of luminaries and had been a repository of talent which had donned many prestigious institutions across India and abroad.

Naming a few stalwarts, Sidhu said that the Amritsar Medical College which had been in existence for more than seven decades had been contributing persons of eminence like Dr Tulsi Das, founder of PGIMER, Chandigarh, Dr Wig of AIIMS, Dr P.N. Chuttani, Dr Santokh Singh Anand, Dr Yudhvir Sehdev, Dr Sohan Singh, Dr Om Parkash, Dr Karam Singh Grewal, Dr P. S. Maini, Dr Man Singh Nirankari, Dr S.S. Manchanda who had dedicated their lives to make Amritsar as one of the best medical destinations in the world.

And now the present generation of young and bright doctors has once again brought various specialties on the world map and have attracted the attention of all kinds of patients from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and even Europe and America.

The doctors here rued that the Indian High Commission especially in Pakistan not issuing visas to Pakistani patients who wish to come to Amritsar, a leading orthopedic surgeon and joint replacement specialist Dr Avtar Singh said here that he can quote a number of instances where the Indian commission in Islamabad had referred many cases to Delhi and elsewhere in the country thus denying the city which offers medical treatment at a very reasonable economic package besides world class medical care.

However, a trickle of NRIs and some foreigners had managed to break the diplomatic hurdles to come to Amritsar for cure to many serious ailments. Recently Dr Daljit Singh Eye Hospital received a Nigerian patient with loss of total vision and the team of doctors led by Dr Indu R. Singh and Dr Ravijeet Singh under the supervision of Dr Daljit Singh gave her a new vision through cornea grafting. There are numerous such instances for some patients who managed to come to the holy city for treatment.

Recently Mohammed Mudassar Bhatti of Lahore had undergone "open bypass surgery" as he suffering acute chest pain. He said that he was struck twice by severe chest pain, the latest being a month back when doctors in Pakistan's Punjab Institute Of Cardiology diagnosed him with blockage of arteries and recommended coronary artery bypass grafting.

However, just a day before surgery, he took a chance and contacted someone in India and promptly got an appointment with Dr Puneet who subsequently studied his case and assured him that an angioplasty instead of bypass surgery was possible.

He further said that easing of visa regime could help people in Pakistan make a choice about their medical treatment and boost confidence and trust between common people of both countries besides saving lots of precious lives.

A leading ophthalmologist specialist Dr Ravijit Singh said that we require an organised and focused medical specialist centre which would attract the potential patients to the city. Although doctors here offer world class health cure at a very reasonable package but the government and the private sector have to promote these facilities as a major tourist centre in the country.

He said Amritsar situated close to Pakistan and landlocked country like Pakistan and even CIS countries which are linked with the city can be a major potential for treatment. He suggested that the whole medical fraternity of the city can offer their different specialties on one single platform through a website so that the patients can get easy accessibilities for all their ailments.

The city boasts of one of the best super-specialty heart centre run by the famous international escort brand, Dr H.S. Pannu chief cardio-vascular surgeon, said that they have treated a few patients from Pakistan and other countries but require an organised effort for attracting more patients to the city.

He said the hospital offers international standards heart care and other facilities. He said that a few years ago Escorts had sponsored Indo-Pak heart summit here which had large participation from the neighboring country and our facilities were thrown open for their inspection but due to lack of liberal visa regime the city had suffered on account of diplomatic hassles.

Meanwhile, Dr Avtar Singh said that he has in his last few years of practice received about 40 foreign patients for hip and knee replacement. He said that the quality and offer very economical package.

He said that his orthopedic centre offers knee replacement through ortho-pilot computerised equipment at Rs 1.2 to Rs 2 lakh while a similar replacement would cost three times more in Pakistan and at least 10 times more in Europe and America.

He suggested the government and doctor fraternity here should project Amritsar as the medical destination in the world to attract more patients due to its easy accessibility through road, rail and air.

A leading eye surgeon Dr Rohi Om Parkash who had pioneered a phoenix club which has its membership worldwide with surgeons having to their credit more than 25,000 surgeries said that the majority of this club were from India but rued that we have not been able to project India particularly Amritsar as hot spot centre for medical treatment.

He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan being two close neighbors where the patients can be greatly benefited was India have excelled in the medical treatment throughout the world. 



GNDU inks MoU with Austrian network
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 4
Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) has signed an MoU with Eurasia-Pacific Uninet (Austria) to encourage and facilitate cooperation between the Uninet and the university in faculty/student exchange, teaching and research activities besides promoting scientific, cultural and human relationships and personal contacts.

Dr. Brigitte Winklehner, Network Coordinator of Austrian Universities signed the agreement on behalf of the Eurasia-Pacific Uninet (Austria), while Dr Jai Rup Singh, vice-chancellor, inked this MoU on behalf of GNDU.

Prof Dr Parmod Talgeri, former vice-chancellor of Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad was also present on this occasion.

Dr Jai Rup Singh said that GNDU under this agreement would also encourage, initiate and undertake projects of mutual interest and benefit for faculties, staff and students. He said that the varsity would assist in forming coalitions of resources for academic activities between member institutions besides facilitating the mutual recognition of degrees.

He said the MoU would facilitate contacts between universities and higher education institutions, governmental and non-governmental organisations and other partners engaged in projects related to education, science, technology and art in countries of member institutions.

Dr Brigitte Winklehner, Network Coordinator of Austrian Universities said the Eurasia-Pacific Uninet aims at establishing contacts and scientific partnerships between Austrian universities and universities of applied sciences and educational institutions in the China, India, Russian Federation, Mongolia and east Asian countries, Central Asia and the Pacific Region.

The vice-chancellor said that the GNDU would also act as a forum of continuous discussion on the progress of these projects and serve as a network of excellence providing expertise and initiatives for entities seeking European-Asian-Pacific relations in the respective fields.



Experts bat for proper solid waste disposal
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 4
Unscientific management of solid wastes leads to serious environmental problems besides high risk of spreading diseases like dysentery, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, plague and dengue fever with the presence of these wastes, said Dr V. K. Garg, expert of vermi-composting in Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, Hisar.

He was delivering a special lecture on ‘Vermicomposting: An Eco-Technology for Solid Waste Management’ at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) recently.

Dr Garg said a number of solid waste disposal strategies have been adopted around the world and no one solution has universal applicability and each solution has its own benefits and limitations.

He said some biological processes tested to convert solid wastes into energy and organic fertilisers are Biogas units with a high methane yield, vermi-composting systems for high quality organic fertiliser production, composting, ferti-irrigation, waste water treatment plant in using duckweed and other aquatic plants.

He revealed that use of earthworms in solid waste management has been suggested by the scientists and said certain species of earthworms could ingest organic waste rapidly and fragment them into much fine particles by passing them through gizzard.

He said that earthworms maintain aerobic conditions in the vermicomposting process; worms ingest solids and egest peat like material termed as worm castings which are much more fragmented, porous and microbially active than parent material due to humification and increased decomposition.

Dr Garg said animal wastes are considered as important resources that fertilize crop fields, supplement organic matters, and improve soil conditions, but are a source of environment pollution too. Animal wastes also significantly contribute to the excess bacteria and nitrates that are frequently found in groundwater, he added.

The distinguished environment scientist said the nations, which have large livestock operations, experience local lagoon spills, which lead to massive destruction of fish. Currently the fertiliser values of animal wastes are not being fully utilized resulting in loss of potential nutrients.



New wing of Guru Harkrishan School inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 4
A new wing of the Sri Guru Harkrishan Senior Secondary Public School, GT Road, was inaugurated by Education Minister Dr Upinderjit Kaur. She was accorded a warm welcome by the management of Chief Khalsa Diwan and Principal Dharamveer Singh.

Addressing the students, she exhorted students to set high goals. She also appreciated the role of the Chief Khalsa Diwan in spreading education and serving the community with missionary zeal.

The programme started with ‘shabad kirtan’ recited by Bhai Kuldeep Singh (Hazoori Ragi, Darbar Sahib) followed by the principal reading out the annual report.

Charanjit Singh Chadha, president of the Chief Khalsa Diwan, honoured the education minister with a shawl and momento. He highlighted the achievement of the school since its setting up 40 years back. The school magazine was also released on the occasion.

Those president on the occasion included Dr Ranbir Singh (member in-charge), Dr Santokh Singh (vice-president), Harminder Singh (resident president, CKD), Gurinder Singh Chawla, Surinderpal Walia, Jatinder Singh Bhatia, Ajit Singh Basra, Santokh Singh Sethi, Dr S.H. Soch (former vice-chancellor of GNDU) and member in-charge of different schools run by the Chief Khalsa Diwan.



Police out to end drug menace
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 4
Children of various schools held a special anti-drug rally to motivate the public against the menace. The rally was organised by the police department in its endeavour to sensitise the masses about this menace and was flagged off by IG (Border Zone) R.P. Meena.

Addressing the rally, Meena said that about 60 to 70 per cent population of the border areas was victim of the drug menace. He reiterated the commitment of the police department and the administration’s resolution to fight it with all its force but added that the active support of the masses was required to eradicate the evil.

The rally started from Police Lines and passed through various main bazars, including Lawrence Road, Madan Mohan Malvia Road and Bhandari Bridge and culminated at Police Lines. Besides Meena, other senior police officials present on the occasion were DIG R.L. Bhagat and SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh.

Meena distributed T-shirts among schoolchildren and rickshaw-pullers who participated in the rally.

Deputy commissioner K.S. Pannu also participated in the rally and urged the people to support the police and the administration in this regard. The deputy commissioner said the administration would provide all help to the police department in its fight against the evil. Meena said the department had established special narcotic cells at all police stations, besides special nakas, to catch the traders of drugs.



MKD DAV school a boon for border kids
P K Jaiswar

Amritsar, May 4
Even as the state government was contemplating to establish model schools in the rural areas of the state to enable the rural children to compete with their counterparts in urban areas, Mahant Kaushal Dass DAV Public School, Neshta is proving to be a boon for children of borders areas which usually remain deprived of quality education due to non availability of quality schools with various modern day facilities.

Opened in 1995 in a godown of Neshta village situated about few kilometers before the Indo-Pak border have now a strength of around five hundred students. With CBSE pattern, the school was established to provide quality education to the youngsters of Attari Township near the border and to equip them to withstand the future challenges of this extremely competitive world.

The result could be gauzed from the confidence level of the young scholars of school who have set high objectives to achieve and excel in their life which otherwise usually lost in dust of rural villages and poorly managed and under staff government schools.

Mr Rajiv Arora, principal of the school talking to Amritsar Plus said that the besides providing bookish knowledge, the students of the school were being made aware of their strengths and imperfections and earnest endeavors were made to develop these strengths and to overcome their imperfections. He said different sessions and programmes were conducted to keep all the young learners in the driven and spirited frame of mind.

He said that the earnest efforts of teachers and all the staff were now bearing fruits as one of the students of eighth standard got first position and won gold medal in the recently concluded state level CBSE tournament.

He said besides students of the school earn the accolades and won prizes in eight events in Mahatma Hans Raj Aryan Youth Festivals thus proving their mettle to compete with their counterparts in the urbanites. He said students of as many as fifteen other DAV institutions of the state participated in the festival.

Arora said that the students were being taught to give multimedia presentations with a view to prepare them in all respects for the competitive corporate world that beckons the youngsters equipped with confident and flawless presentation. Besides inculcating the basic education, the students were being guided in the control and strengthen the qualities like self control, steadfastness, perseverance, humility and commitment through different counseling sessions, declamation competitions, role-plays and cultural programmes. He said that all these measures and initiatives were adopted to cast the personality of the students in the best possible mould.



Put end to drug flow from across border: Army
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 4
The people should thwart the attempt of the forces across the border to pump in drugs and counterfeit notes and whenever such incidents come to their knowledge they should immediately report to the police.

Brig. V. Narayanan Commander Dograi Brigade stated this while addressing the people of the village Gandiwind in border district of Tarn Taran district. He was here to inaugurate the new building of the Primary Elementary School in Gandiwind in Tarn Taran District which was renovated by the Army as part of the on going process of cementing the bond between the Army and civil population of border areas.

It is pertinent to mention here that due to the prolonged negligence, the school was in a dilapidated condition due to poor state of maintenance and lacked even basic amenities for the staff and the students. The Multan Battalion (Jat regiment) has adopted the school and renovated the building, giving it a totally new look and has provided the same with the furniture for all the 267 students. The Army has also improved the ambience and has catered for water storage tank, electrical fittings and park for the children.

Commander Narayanan urged the people to invest in education of the children so that they become capable citizens of the country. He also informed the people that the Army was also adopting various other schools in Pindore, Dhanoa Kalan and a few schools in border areas of Anjala in Amritsar District.

He said the Army had also adopted poor and needy children especially girl student in border villages and catering for their education and basic necessities. He further said that the Army has also conducted many ex-servicemen rallies, medical camps and assisted in woman empowerment and has provided financial and various assistance to the needy especially ex-servicemen.

Speaking on the occasion the native of the village Brig J.S. Dhillon (retd) assured Brig Narayanan that the people of area would come forward to serve the Army in case of any eventuality as they had been done during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak conflict.



‘Bahurani’ comes calling to Amritsar
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 4
“I have come here to learn about the rich cultural heritage of Punjab, besides imbibing the moral values so that I could justify my role as a Punjabi Sikh girl in the teleserial “Teen Bahuraania” currently being telecast on Zee TV, said Marathi actress Manva Naik during her visit to the holy city.

She said she was playing the role of Manjeet, a tomboyish Punjabi girl, in the TV show and was married to a boy of Marathi origin. She said there was a great cultural clash and she kept trying to acclimatise herself.

Manjeet actually is a very dynamic girl and stands for family virtues and values. She is keen to keep the family united despite strong opposition from her mother-in-law who was initially against their marriage.

Explaining the story of the teleserial, Manva said the serial was totally different from the other “saas-bahu” sops being aired on various channels as it had a blend of drama and humour and was trying to bring out the positive side of the relation between the saas and the bahu. The serial was also trying to show the cultural exchange among the three daughters-in-law.

When asked about her role model, Manva said as such she had no role model from the film industry and the theatre but she considered her father Arun Nayak, a businessman and Marathi critic, as her role model as he was the only person who had brought out an actress within her.

She said she was doing the serials as a hobby and was not materialistic and the day she came to know that it was going the wrong way she would quit the shows altogether.

She said this was her first appearance in a Hindi serial though she had appeared in various Marathi shows earlier. She said theatre had been her first choice as she had acted in various Marathi shows since her childhood. She had no immediate plans to join the Hindi films but would like to act in the films to be directed by Ram Gopal Verma, Karan Johar and the likes.

Earlier Manva along with the TV crew visited the Golden Temple and paid her obeisance there. Later she interacted with the local people to acquaint herself with the style and habits of Punjabis.



Sikh bodies oppose move to install ACs
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 4
The Sikh Chintak Manch has opposed the installation of air-conditioners (AC) in the sanctum of the Golden Temple as it would damage the unique structure.

R.S. Bindra, president SCM said that the holy shrine does not require air-conditioning as it was surrounded by holy sarovar.

He said that the proposed air-conditioning would damage the rare frescos and paintings which would harm them in case the fitting work of ACs would be undertaken.

It is pertinent to mention here that proposed move of the SGPC authorities have raised many eyebrows and even experts have vehemently opposed the decision as it will not serve any purpose as its doors are open on all the four sides and upward direction through the stairs; there will be no cooling effect .

The experts were of the view that if the doors are closed, it would be against the Sikh tradition.

Bindra said that the entire Sikh Sangat expressed its view against the installation of the air conditioners in the main temple.



My City
Rendezvous with age, ethos and bonds
Chaman Lal Korpal

Amritsar occupies a cozy niche in the cockles of my heart. Though, I have often walked out on the city for long spells, its memory never deserted me.

Whether I was going window shopping in the Palika Bazaar of New Delhi or browsing among books in the libraries of Kolkata, a streak of wrench caused by the distance from Amritsar was always palpably present.

For others it may be merely a holy city housing Harmandir Sahib and Durgiana Temple or a big trade centre or an important border town, it appeals to me because it is redolent of age, ethos and deep personal emotional bonds.

In pre-Partition days the people of Lahore belt jocularly called the people of Amritsar as Andarsarian (vile at heart). But the fact is that the Amritsarians have always been full of zest and zeal, while their lust for life found expression in many forms including their talk, walk and exuded a characteristic aura.

On their way to the downtown the menfolk took ‘lassi’ in ‘karewala’ glasses (tin tumble of the capacity of .75 litre) from a nearby halwai shop, by way of breakfast.

The lunch tiffins were collected by ‘Mundoo’ from the homes and delivered at the shops. Every household had a male help called ‘Mundoo’ who inter alia did baby sitting and accompanied the mistress to temple and to vegetable market.

The opulent Lalas clad in kurta-pyjama or dhotis were known all over the country for their shrewd business tactics.

Their oily tongue and smarmy manners left the customers with no option but to buy their merchandise.

A wrestler turned philanthropist Lala Sain Das did the city proud by his acts of charity.

Earlier, known as Bijli Pehalwan he had rescued a girl from the clutches of bigoted goon at great personal risk.

He refused to inhale any anesthesia before being operated upon for removal of stabs jabbed all over his hefty body. Bhaga was another wrestler who distinguished the city.

One nostalgically misses the typical Amritsar culture which has been defaced and deformed beyond recognition while the ladies jargon was marked by Rh in place of R their accent too was peculiar.

Evening ‘lady clubs’ were ‘Tharas’, (raised platform near the outer gate of their houses). The voluptuous belles sitting on the tharas discussed vegetable rates and other mundane things.

The ladies of my city have undergone tremendous sea-change for the better. Their speech, gait and dress were now much more sophisticated, graceful and enchanting.

The sylphs and buxom beauties are far more bewitching and tantalizing than the Miss Universe.

Another public rendezvous inside the city was Arorbans Hall where many social functions were held. The septuagenarian and older people in the city pine for the Parsee cemetery situated on Batala Road was a beautiful corner of serenity and blooms wherein lay the remains of the Bogas, the Manekshaws and other followers of Zorasters.

There was Tara Singh who eked out his living vending kulfis on the banyan tree leaves but was called ‘Kushta-e-siyasat as he used to deliver fiery speeches against the Britishers.

Avtar Singh Chhajalwadi, Ghalughara, et al regaled the audience with their pithy politics loaded poetry which was on the lips of every young and the old.

The standard of living of the people has considerably gone up and food habits have changed.

Lassi has been replaced by instant coffee and Sardai has yielded place to Royal Challenge and beer etc.

The city is being turned into a jungle of concrete. The land mafia has built housing colonies on the land which was once covered by orchards, whose blossoms in spring season presented a scene of celestial beauty and oozed beatitude.

Shopping complexes and marriage palaces are mushrooming.

No library, however, has been added to the city which has the distinction of providing literary giants like Mulk Raj Anand and Bhai Veer Singh to name a few.

While the youth of the city is proud of the fact that the veteran film actress Deepti Naval and the first woman IPS officer, Kiran Bedi are from the city, the people of my generation fondly recall, Gurdial Singh Dhillon, Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir and terribly miss the ethos of humour, when a lean Cadaverous person tottering due to weak physique was jokingly called Pehalwan and old spinsters used to find mango leaves garland (symbol of birth of male child) hung before their doors at night by some jolly fellows and a line of neighbors waiting there to congratulate the man.

Oh! Where is the coziness of Amritsar of yore,

Where is it?

Think not of that Amritsar is warm even today,

Here it is…



Dedicated to Punjabi language and culture
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 4
There are certain people in the world who love their mother tongue and culture and devote their lives for development and enrichment of their language and culture.

R.S. Bindra belongs to such category, who since his school days has been vigorously working for the promotion of the Punjabi language and literature.

Being a person of literary taste, he has been voracious reader of Punjabi literature and has read almost all works of Nanak Singh, Gurbux Singh, Preet Lari, Bhai Veer Singh and others in childhood.

In the beginning he wrote articles and short stories for college and literary magazines.

He has been associated with Punjabi literary societies for more than 45 years.

In 1961 he organised “Sahi Kala Manch”, a literary society at Ferozepore and held literary functions and poetical symposiums and 

In 1964 Bindra migrated to Mumbai and joined the teaching profession. Being an ardent lover of Punjabi, he organised “Punjabi Sahit Kender” with the guidance of noted filmstar Balraj Sahni and Rajinder Singh Bedi.

The Punjabi Sahit Kender held regular meetings, literary seminars poetical symposiums for uplift of Punjabi language and culture.

The Sahit kinder also started free Punjabi classes in non-Punjabi schools for the promotion of Punjabi language in Mumbai. Keeping in view the demand of Punjabis settled in Mumbai, he started monthly Punjabi literary magazine “Komal Kalian” which inspired many young writers to contribute for Punjabi literatures.

After spending four years in Mumbai his love for Punjab compelled him to return to Amritsar in 1967. Though the city of Golden Temple has earned a reputation of producing renowned writers and artistes, there was hardly any literary society or forum working for the uplift of the Punjabi language and culture.

Bindra filled the gap with the help of his writer friend Balwinder Fatehpuri by establishing “Punjabi Sahit Kender” with patronage of literary giants like Nanak Singh, Gurbux Singh, Preet Lari.

The kender organised state-level literary functions and honoured eminent writers like Prof Mohan Singh, Gurbax Singh, Preet Lari, Nanak Singh, Sant Singh Sekhon, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Principal S.S. Amol and Sadhu Singh Hamdard, among others. The activities of the kender inspired many young writers to serve their mother tongue.

Subsequently, the kender was merged in Man Sarover Punjabi Sahit Academy under the presidentship of Bindra.

The academy has published about two dozens books of new Punjabi writers. He is patronising many Punjabi magazines like “Man Sarover Times”, “Daler Khalsa”, “Urvashi” and “Maryada”. Though he is a senior lawyer of the Amritsar Bar Association, yet he devotes his maximum time for literary and cultural activities and encourages young writers to write and work for the welfare of the Punjabi language and literature.



Movement banned near Indo-Pak border
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 4
The district administration has promulgated an order banning any kind of movement near the Indo-Pakistan border to thwart attempts of the disruptive forces to disturb peace and tranquillity in the region.

District Magistrate Kahan Singh Pannu, in an order, copies of which were released to the media here today, said as there was likelihood of movement of undesirable elements on the RadCliffe line falling in this border district which was likely to endanger public peace, tranquillity, security and the defence of India, it had become necessary to prohibit all types of movements within 500 metres from the zero line from 8.30 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. He said the order would remain effective till June 28. He said the order did not cover the GT Road running from border barrier to Amritsar.

The order advised the general public in general not to move around in the area during the said period and time. However, the order shall not be applicable to the Army, police, CRPF, BSF, Home Guards personnel and staff of general excise and customs in uniform on duty and the persons to whom special permits.



GNDU clarifies

Amritsar, May 4
Guru Nanak Dev University in a press release said that the dome-shaped heritage structures located on its premises do not fall within its jurisdiction and were a private property.

It further said that if the owners of the structures would approach the university for maintenance of the structures, it would be pleased to provide assistance and expertise for the same. — TNS



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