L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Close shave for 3 students
Auto catches fire from an effigy burnt by Sena men
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Concern over burning effigies on roads proved right today when an autorickshaw, carrying three schoolchildren, caught fire after passing through near an effigy put on fire by activists of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackrey) to protest against inflation.

The activists had put the effigy on fire near Kailash cinema in the afternoon when the auto was passing nearby. The vehicle caught fire. Thankfully when it just caught fire, several mediapersons, who were on the spot, stopped the auto driver and rescued the children.

A joint effort by persons present on the spot helped the driver to douse fire. Had they delayed it by a few seconds, the diesel run auto could have turned into a fire ball.

The episode left the driver infuriated who claimed that the children could have been burnt alive had the fuel tank caught fire.

‘‘Thankfully all these people started shouting and I got careful and we removed the children from the autorickshaw. Otherwise who would have been responsible? ’’ he asked.

The agitators, led by Pinki Sharma, district president of yuva sena, burnt the effigy of the union government at the chowk. After raising protests while posing for photographs, the activists left the effigy unattended. It was burning in the middle of the road when the auto caught fire.

It is not for the first time that residents have crticised the act of agitators. In the past also residents have been demanding a ban on burning of effigy as it causes fire hazard, blocks traffic and raises environment concerns. Till the time the fire is doused, the splinters from the burnt effigy fly from here and there causing threat to moving vehicles. The smoke generated by fire causes a lot of pollution.



Metro rail in city soon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Ludhiana is all set to get its metro rail project shortly. A team of officials from the Metro Rail Corporation, New Delhi, today visited the city and surveyed different areas to study the viability of the project.

Managing director of the MRC V. Sridharan went around the city, including Gill Road, Chaura Bazar, Rahon Road, Jalandhar bypass and studied bus stops and railway stations in the city.

He also went around the industrial area and studied where its stops were feasible. Later, he held a meeting with commissioner Vikas Partap, senior town planner Balkar Singh Brar and joint commissioner B.K. Gupta.

Sources said the proposal to lay a network for Ludhiana was already accepted by the rail corporation. The process to finally lay the network was started. The work would be taken up in three phases.

A rough draft for the metro rail is being prepared by the office of senior town planner of the MC.

The team would visit again after 15 days to discuss the matter in detail after studying the maps and geography of the city.

Metro rail will be a welcome step to address the problem of traffic chaos on the city roads. With new vehicles added to roads every day, the city is grappling with the ever-increasing traffic.

The absence of an effective public transport system adds to the problem.

Not only the traffic but also the air pollution is also an issue related with the problem. In the absence of public transport, autorickshaws ply on roads as the common man is dependent on this mode of travel. Besides causing congestion, the autorickshaws also spew toxic gases in the air.

The metro will solve all traffic problems. It will save fuel also as the commuters will prefer this mode of travel instead of taking out their own vehicle on the road.



2 held for financier’s murder
Accused owed Rs 33,000 to victim
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Inability to repay a loan had allegedly led two persons to murder a septuagenarian financier and saw mill owner whose body was found on a bank of a canal near Sahnewal on April 8 late night.

SP City-II G S Randhawa stated in a press conference today that the main accused Jasbir Singh alias Jassa had, along with an accomplice Dharamjit Singh alias Kala, clubbed to the death the financier Ajit Singh.

Randhawa said Jassa had to return a loan of Rs 1 lakh to the deceased. He had returned Rs 67,000 but could not arrange the remaining money. Instead of making more efforts to repay the loan or seek further time from the financier, Jassa chose to kill the man.

A police said Jassa, who also runs a saw mill, called the financier to a place outside Sahnewal in pretext of returning his money. He also told Ajit Singh to bring the papers on which he had pawned his land to the financier.

When Ajit Singh reached there and sat on a chair, Jassa hit a wood log on his head. The police said Kala too joined into and broke open the man's head. Later, they dumped his body near a canal to show he died in an accident.

Randhawa said the accused faltered on two counts. One, they did not know the financier had told his family that he was going to Jassa for taking money. Second, the document of pawning his property to the financier was found from the accused. The police claimed the accused confessed to their crime. 



Drug addicts stab gym owner
Rob him of Rs 55,000
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Four youths, including a drug addict, allegedly snatched Rs 55,000 from a health club owner and left him to die after stabbing him with a dagger thrice this afternoon.

The badly wounded youth was taken to a hospital by relatives and friends with the dagger still stuck in his abdomen. One of the assailant identifed later as Gopal, who was under the influence of drug and could not run away from the site. He was found unconscious at the site.

The victim, Parveen Kumar, owner of Mr Olympia Gym at Karamsar colony in Basti Jodhewal was saved by doctors in CMC Hospital.

His brother, Dr Pawittar Kumar, told Ludhiana Tribune that his brother had identified all youths and told the police. The youths were Gopal, Rama, Babbu and Charanjit Singh.

He said his brother had professional rivalry with the youths and they had a tiff last month also. He said Parveen was on way to buy some more machines for the gym. His bike developed some snag. When he was trying to rectify it on the side of a road, the other youths came on bikes and attacked him.

The Basti Jodhewal police sources said raids were on to nab the accused.



Panchayat Poll
Election duties rag teachers
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Lecturers in government colleges here have asked the district administration not to put them on panchayat election duties. Many senior as well as junior lecturers, who have been asked to perform duties, said they were already giving duties as invigilators and superintendents at various examination centres. If they were put on "non-educational" duties, the university examination work will suffer and students will be the ultimate sufferers.

Prof Jaipal Singh, president, Government College Teachers Association (GCTA), said a list by the district administration had already been sent at his college (SCD Government College) in which 30 lecturers were selected at random to perform duties in the coming panchayat election, scheduled on May 12. He said one more list was awaited.

"Many of us are already performing duties as invigilators, superintendents and assistant superintendents at Ludhiana and nearby areas. May 12 will be the hectic day as thousands of students from different classes will appear for the examinations. This exam was earlier scheduled on April 8 but due to the boycott call given by the PCCTU and the GCTA, the university had postponed it to May 12. The working at examination centres will suffer in absence of proper staff”, said Prof Jaipal. The lecturers have been asked to attend rehearsals on May 4 and 8, in addition to this, they will have to collect the election material from their respective returning officers on May 11. Elections will be held on May 12.;

Priyank Bharti, ADC (Development), when asked about it, said it was a Constitutional mandate. He said over 7,500 people were required to perform duties for smooth conduct of elections. “How will we manage if everyone tries to escape from the job given to him”, he said, adding that keeping all things in mind, the rehearsals were also scheduled on holidays.



Power plays truant in city
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 1
In the wake of persistent rise in temperature and heat wave-like conditions prevailing in the region, the drastic power cuts, being imposed both in scheduled and unscheduled manner on the urban feeders in the city, have thrown life in the city out of gear.

Belying claims of the state government and top officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board of imposing three and a half hour daily cut in residential areas, power supply remains off for five to seven hours during day and night.

With power playing truants, people from all walks of life sweat it out in the blistering heat during the day. They are forced to have sleepless nights and more often go without water as the supply of piped water is directly linked to power supply.

According to highly placed sources in the PSEB, power generation at all thermal stations is stable as of now and availability of power from hydel projects has also improved. With the Ranjit Sagar Dam project already operating to capacity and UBDC also expected to become functional sometimes today, the state would get 40 lakh units additional power.

However, the availability of power from national grid continues to be dismal and the total gap between demand and availability is still around 175 lakh units with the result that duration of power cuts has to be increased, say the sources.

"The 500 MW unit of Singrauli thermal project in Uttar Pradesh is shut down for maintenance which has led to reduced drawing of power from national grid. The project is expected to resume generation on May 5 when the power situation will ease considerably," the sources said.

The sources maintain that prevailing power situation is likely to get better once the normal supply from national grid is restored and water inflow at hydel projects as well as level at Bhakra reservoir improves which seems imminent in the wake of high temperature all over the region.

The common complaint of the city residents is that the PSEB authorities do not stick to the schedule of power cut announced from time to time. The people are particularly sore at unscheduled cuts in the morning which disrupt the water supply and during night when their sleep is disturbed.

Even the municipal administration has taken up the matter with the PSEB to ensure uninterrupted power supply in the morning.



Husband gets 7 years for dowry death
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 1
Court of additional sessions judge M. S. Virdi has convicted Sahib Singh of Gandhi Colony, Tibba Road, Ludhiana, in a dowry death case. He was sentenced to undergo seven years imprisonment and fined Rs 5,000.

Sarabjit Kaur, wife of the convict, had died two years after the marriage due to intake of poisonous pesticide on December 23, 2002, at her in-laws house. She was survived by a six-month-old male child.

Delivering the verdict, the judge held that the accused had also ruined the life of his minor son. So, he did not deserve any leniency.

The accused was booked under Section 304-B of IPC at Basti Jodhewal police station in December, 2002, following the statement of the mother of victim Rachpal Kaur of Shamsabad village, Noormahal, Jalandhar.

The complainant had stated to the police that her daughter was married with the accused on December 9, 2000. A few days after the marriage, the accused had started harassing her for dowry. She was being maltreated and subjected to cruelty. She used to tell all this to her.

Even they had paid Rs 10,000 to her on one occasion. On the birth of her son, they had given TV, VCR and refrigerator to the accused. On the fateful day, when she, along with her daughter and son-in-law, visited the house of Sarabjit Kaur, she found her daughter dead, she added.

However, the accused pleaded false implication. He had submitted before the court that her wife used to stress him for living with her at her parental house. But he did not agree and she committed suicide. Moreover, on the day of incident, he had gone to Tajpur Bhamia for carriage purpose on his tempo. So, he was not present when she committed suicide.

But the judge disagreed with the submissions made by the accused. He remarked that the accused had failed to prove that at the time of incident, he was away from his home. This defence version appears to have been cooked later on, further remarked judge while holding the accused guilty.



Employees hold rallies on May Day
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, May 1
Employees of various departments and industries held rallies to mark May Day here today.

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Employees Union, Punjab circle, staged a rally in the Bharat Nagar telephone exchange complex.

Addressing the employees, P. Abhimanyu, all-India deputy general secretary of the BSNL Employees Union, condemned the "anti-worker policies of the government" and said that policies pertaining to disinvestment and privatisation were not in interest of the working class.

The Northern Railway Mens Union along with the Joint Platform of Mass Organisations (JPMO) also held a rally outside the local railway station.

Addressing the members, Shiv Kumar Mishra, zonal president of the union, said unity among workers was essential to ensure that they got their due.

The union leaders condemned the Centre regarding the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. They said reduction in holidays and the commission's stand on promotions was anti-employees and they would launch an agitation against it.

The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) held a rally near Jalandhar Bypass on May Day here today.

Demanding an increase in basic wage to Rs 5,000 , INTUC leaders said they would launch an agitation if their demands were not met.

Mandi Ahmedgarh: Paying tributes to the Chicago martyrs, leaders of various trade unions and labour welfare organisations said workers were being exploited and deprived of their rights. Accusing successive governments of supporting upper classes, the leaders called upon the workers to join hands against such forces.

The activists organised a protest march through Railway Road, Chaura Bazar, Mahavir Road, Galla Mandi and Gandhi Chowk before concluding at Bhagat Singh Chowk.



Construction hit as sand rates double
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Construction activity here got a blow as sand prices have doubled within the last one month. Thanks to the auction of quarries this time at prices many times higher than the last auctions, coupled with low arrival of sand in the market with trolley operators refusing to continue their work, the rise in prices is continuing.

The rate which was Rs 4.50 per feet almost a month ago has now shot up to more than Rs 10 per feet. The steep rise has decreased demand for sand and hit construction activity here.

Auction of quarries in the district fetched the government a revenue of Rs 10.02 crore this time, against Rs 1.64 crore last time five years ago. On account of the rise, contractors increased the royalty they charged from the truck and trolley operators, who lifted sand from the quarries.

Unwilling to pay the increased rates, a majority of truck-trolley operators have not been lifting sand for two weeks now. As a result, arrival in the market, too, has suffered, further triggering the increase.

"The amount paid this time was almost 10 times more than what we paid last time. We cannot continue charging the same royalty," said a contractor.

Builders said zooming sand prices had hit their business. "They are charging a higher royalty due to which we are getting sand at much higher rates. For the trolley for which we earlier paid Rs 500, the prevailing rate is more than Rs 1,000 and in case where we paid Rs 1,400, the amount they are charging now is almost Rs 3,000.



MC swimming pool without lifeguard
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Beating the heat with a dip in the municipal corporation run swimming pool in Rakh Bagh here could prove dangerous for amateurs with no lifeguard presently posted there.

Sarabjit Singh Khangura, a swimming coach, said trained lifeguard has not joined the office so far. Department sources said he was on a foreign trip.

The city swimming enthusiasts were worried, as the absence of lifeguard could prove dangerous.

Numerous drowning cases have been reported in the past as the coaches who were recruited on contract basis were not qualified.

“MC authorities are playing with the life of innocent people by not recruiting lifeguard. Cases of drowning have been reported even during the presence of lifeguard and now, when there is no lifeguard, the risk is grave”, said Surjit Singh, a swimmer.

This swimming pool is the only pool in the region, which caters to all international norms. Four years ago, a youth and a child had died here.

Jimmy Shankar, another swimmer, said, “It was a misconception that a trained swimmer cannot drown as in most of the cases, people drowned due to breathlessness.

In such situations, lifeguard is very important otherwise they should not allow anyone to enter the swimming pool”.

Xen Manjit Singh assured that the two swimming coaches hired on contract basis would join the pool from tomorrow.



Sachdeva to head mass media officers’ body
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 1
Satish Sachdeva, district mass media officer in the office of the civil surgeon here, has been elected president of the Punjab Health Department Mass Media Officers Association at the general body meeting held here today. Gurmeet Singh (Patiala) will be the new general secretary of the association.

Among other office-bearers elected on this occasion were Santosh Bhatia (Chandigarh) patron, Ravi Kumar (Amritsar) senior vice-president, Sukhdev Singh (Amritsar), Harjinder Singh Sandhu (Ropar), Santosh Kumari (Nurpur Bedi, Ropar) all vice-presidents, Baljinder Singh (Ludhiana) cashier, Jasbir Singh Balli (Mansa) chief adviser, Rakeshpal Singh (Jalandhar) adviser, Brij Mohan Sharma (Mohali) press secretary.

The executive committee members include Bhag Singh (Patiala), Rupinderjit Kaur (Lopoke, Amritsar), Karnail Singh (Patiala) and Rajiv Sharma (Faridkot).



Lakhowal chief of state unit of BKU
Tribune News Service

Alamgir, May 1
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal was unanimously elected as the president of the Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) here today. The elections were held after a gap of four years and the sitting president was re-elected.

As many as 840 delegates of the party were present on the occasion. Ram Karan Singh from Bathinda, Nirmal Singh from Mansa and Avtar Singh Mehlon from Ludhiana proposed the name of Lakhowal which was seconded by Pavittar Singh Mangewal from Patiala and Sukhpal Singh Bhuttar from Ferozepur.

Others members: Secretary general -Puran Singh Shahkot; general secretary(finance)- Ajmer Singh Gill, general secretary(press)- Bhupinder Singh Mahesri; general secretary (administration)- Sharanjit Singh Dhillon; and general secretary(record)- Harmit Kadian. 



Wheat crop burnt
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Dakha, May 1
Ripened wheat crop in 3 acres was reduced to ashes in Gahaur village near Mullanpur here today. Sparks from a tranformer installed in the fields reportedly caused the fire. Villagers rushed to the fields to douse the fire. However, they could not save crop, but managed to prevent it from spreading further.



Food fest to tickle your taste buds
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Place a premium on things but cuisines that tickle your taste buds can not be measured in dollars, as Zaika -e- Lahore, the ongoing food festival at hotel Fortune Klassik, has given the Ludhianvis every reason to rejoice.

Mouth-watering delicacies from yakhani shorba, pistey wala doodh and murg malmali kabab as starters to masaledaar jangari biryani followed by tikhi macchi in assorted salads leave a glint in the eyes of diners at Fortune Klassik.

Amalgamating the flavours of Pak cuisine with Indian gastronomy according to Rishi Kapoor, the executive chef at Fortune Park Klassik, was challenging. "However, the results are evident from the jam-packed buffet. Interestingly, our in-house guests that include some overseas clients, too, prefer spicy food from Lahore."

Mohammad Zaffar, the chef from Delhi specially hired for the job, has left the food freaks spellbound with his garlic, tomato and onion kheer in desserts.

Unable to hide her amazement, Molly says,"I have never before tasted something so exotic in desserts as the desserts are nutritious and with a low-calorie count."

The food fest is indeed a must to visit for non-vegetarians as halim (mutton mince) , nehari (mutton curry) combined with Varki and chakundar parantha are appetising.

For Romi Malik, a city-based entrepreneur, the fest was more than just an 'eating out' as he rediscovered his ancestry through aromas from Lahore. "Savouring Mughlai biryani with salon gravy and Muarni raita transported me to Lahore, the land of my forefathers. The family get together at Zaika-e-Lahore became a special celebration, Malik went on to add.

Festivity is incomplete without kids and so the buffet menu has exceptional welcome drinks and desserts on attractive earthen platter. To name a few Papaya lassi, Rose drink, Chaka Chak, and Angoori Rasmalai are amongst the favourite orders.

The eleven day food fest will conclude on May 5. 



Jyoti wins cotton sari contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Astha Ladies club organised a ‘Cotton Sari Competition’ at Hotel Friends Regency today. Making a ceremonial announcement of summer season, the club members walked down the ramp in style.

Draped in Kota cotton and chikankari work saris, the ladies at the club exhibited elegance. Jyoti bagged the first position while Monica and Kiran won second and third position, respectively.

Club president Mona Sood anchored the show. A ‘Biryani’ competition was also organised wherein Monica Mittal was adjudged the winner.

The lucky draws for ‘beautiful bindiya’ and ‘best hair style’ were main attractions of the function.

Jasleem and Hina enthralled the audience with their foot tapping movements on popular numbers from Hindi movies during an interlude between Tambola rounds. 



One dead, 3 hurt as bus rams into car
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Dakha, May 1
A minor boy was killed and three others, including two women, were injured when a speeding private bus rammed into a Maruti car at the crossing of Shekupura village near Mullanpur around noon today. All the victims were relatives.

The Ferozepur-bound private bus of Guru Angad Dev Bus Service, Ludhiana (PB 10 BT 8667), rammed into the Maruti 800 (PB 10 D 0218). The bus was coming from Patiala. The car was crossing the highway coming from Talwandi Khurd going toward Shekupura.

The bus dragged it about a 100 feet and rammed it into a brick platform meant for passengers waiting for the bus. The car was virtually crushed between the bus and the brick platform. Four occupants of the car, including Gurmail Singh, a chemist shop owner at Shekupura, who was driving the car, his wife Jatinder Kaur, a relative Gurmeet Kaur, her son Lakhvir Singh got seriously injured in the accident whereas one-year-old Ashpreet Singh, son of Gurmail Singh, escaped unhurt.

The injured were brought to Pandori Nursing Home, Mullanpur, where Lakhvir Singh (12 years old) was declare dead. Gurmail Singh was referred to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana. The Dakha police impounded the bus after registering a case. 



Unidentified body found
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Dakha, May 1
A decomposed body of an unidentified person was recovered from the agriculture fields of Raqba village near Mullanpur.

At the time of harvesting, the farm owner Gurdeep Singh spotted the body. The body seems to be of migrant labour aged about 40-45 years. A case has been registered.



Transplant paddy after June 15: PAU director
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Punjab Agricultural University’s director of extension education, Dr N.S. Malhi has appealed to Punjab farmers on judicious use of water. While appreciating the initiative taken by Punjab agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah to launch an awareness campaign for saving water, Dr Malhi said the campaign could only be successful if farmers started saving water.

Advocating farmers to grow PAU-201 variety of paddy, Dr Malhi said this early maturing variety consumed less water and yielded more than the old variety, PUSA-44. He advised farmers against the transplanting of paddy before June 15. “Early transplanting is of no use and does not yield more. In fact, it consumes a lot of precious water” he said.

Taking note of the fact that some farmers had already accepted the advice of the university and started late transplanting of paddy, Dr Malhi said underground water level which was fallen by 82 cms in 2005 has now been decreased to 65 cms. 



PTU students threaten stir
Want authorities to declare results early
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh May 1
Accusing authorities of Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, of harassing students of various streams by not declaring their results, a group of students, who appeared in examinations two years ago, have threatened to stage dharna on the campus premises if the authorities fail to do so at the earliest.

However, the Regional Learning and Facilitation Centre in charge claimed that results had been prepared and certificates would be dispatched soon.

Avtar Singh of Saharanmajra, Harbhajan Singh of Dhaul Khurad, Hapreet Singh of Dhulkot, Mandeep Singh of Rajjewal, Resham Pal Singh of Maholi village, Sarabjit Singh of Pohir village, Gurpreet Kaur of Khatra Chuharam and Jagdish Singh along with a few others had appeared in examinations for the diploma in operating theater technology and diploma in medical laboratory technology conducted in 2005-2006 session. Those who could not clear their papers reappeared later. But, their results had not been declared even after two years.

Disappointed over indifferent attitude of authorities at the university campus and the RLFC, Barnala, the students threatened to stage a protest.

“Even after completing the course we have not been able to get jobs in private or government institutes. When we enquired about it from the PTU authorities, they told us that the results would be sent to the centres concerned. We are left with no other choice other than to stage a protest,” said Avtar Singh.



Teacher’s Transfer
DEO overstepping authority: Front
Director intervenes, passes relieving order
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Members of the democratic teachers’ front (DTF) have accused the district education department for deliberately transferring a mathematics teacher without informing the director, education department, Punjab.

Front’s general secretary Joginder Azad claimed that the director (Education) took cognizance of the complaint filed by front members and immediately ordered the district education officer to relieve Rakesh Kumar, the mathematics teacher.

Azad said, “Rakesh Kumar, a mathematics teacher, was transferred from Government Senior Secondary School, Dholewal, to Government Senior Secondary School, Ded Fattepur, as he was found absent when the director visited the school in July 2007.

DEO (secondary) Sudesh Bajaj without taking the director (education) into confidence posted Rakesh Kumar at Government High School, Kot Mangal, Gill Road.

Azad said the front and the union had raised the issue before the director (education) who further directed Sudesh Bajaj to relieve Rakesh Kumar from the school.

Director also sought clarification from Sudesh Bajaj in this regard. He even asked the DEO to explain the reason behind transferring the teacher without taking permission from the higher authorities.

Meanwhile, Sudesh Bajaj said the clarification in this regards had already been sent to the higher authorities. She further added that Rakesh Kumar was relieved from his services at Government senior Secondary School, Kot Mangal, yesterday.



New courses at PCTE
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
PCTE group of Institutes is starting two new courses, BSc (bio-technology) and BSc (media, entertainment and film technology), from the current session 2008-09. The courses will be run under the affiliation of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar. The duration of the courses will be three years each. Dr Kang said PCTE had formulated separate admission guidance cell to provide information regarding these courses at PCTE campus. 



Scholarship announced
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 1
Shashi Pal, a lecturer, Gobind National Khalsa College, instituted scholarships for meritorious students in memory of his father at a farewell party organised on his retirement day today.

Recollecting contributions made by Shashi Pal in promoting education in the area, principal Hardil Jit Singh Gosal and Gurnam Singh Grewal claimed that he (Shashi Pal) had proven assets for the college and area.

The organisers presented a memento in recognition of his 32 years of service. 



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