L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


LIT takes over prime land; Garcha fumes
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 12
Amid browbeating and alleged threats from former minister SAD leader Jagdish Singh Garcha and others, officials of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) took possession of 8.8 acre of prime land near Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar on the Pakhowal road last evening in the presence of Land Acquisition Collector Ashok Kumar Sikka.

A team of LIT officials, along with the supporting staff, arrived at the site and razed a boundary wall erected around the land. They also put up a signboard proclaiming that the land was under the possession of the LIT.

As the officials were busy, former minister Garcha, along with some of his supporters, tried to disrupt the proceedings. He is said to have threatened the officials to desist from taking possession of the land which was owned by him. The officials, however, continued with the formalities and completed paper work when the signboard was being put up.

The board was, however, found uprooted this morning and it was assumed that it might be the handiwork of the SAD leader. JS Pandher, superintending engineer of the LIT, told The Tribune that a formal complaint would be lodged with the police. He maintained that field staff had been deployed at the spot to stop anyone from meddling with the property of the trust.

Sikka said the government had acquired the particular piece of land in 1999 on behalf of the LIT for the purpose of a residential scheme. In 2002, Garcha purchased the property from its original owners and moved an appeal against the eviction orders served by the trust.

The appeal was dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in November 2008 which paved the way for the LIT to take possession of the land.

The LIT had deposited Rs 3.60 crore as cost of the acquired land with the LAC which the owners could claim, trust officials added.


2 die as car rams into mill wall
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 12
Two youths were killed and three seriously injured when a car rammed into the wall of a rice mill near Humbran late last night.

A Maruti Baleno being driven by Mahesh Sharma of Gidderbaha went out of control and rammed into the wall of a mill. The impact of the collision was so great that Mahesh Sharma and Vicky Gupta of Giaspura, Ludhiana, died on the spot. The other three occupants of the car, Neeraj, Robin and Gobinda (all in the age group of 21-23) were seriously injured and admitted to the DMCH at Ludhiana, where they are stated to be out of danger.

The victims were employees of a plywood factory at Ranke village and were returning to Humbran around 11.30 pm when they met with the accident. The police has initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC on the statement of the family members of the deceased.



Be prompt or face music, DC to officers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg today asked officials of various departments to work hard to complete pending projects or face the music.

He said dilly-dallying attitude on part of officers would not be tolerated. A meeting of various department officials was convened by the DC today to review development works and pending projects. Garg said projects needed to be accomplished within the stipulated time so that the public could benefit from those.

He also asked the SDMs concerned in the district to review the works in their respective areas. Garg said necessary work was carried out at a fast pace to provide potable water to people of approximately 140 villages by the water supply department.

He asked representatives from schools to ensure that students get potable water. “A scheme has been initiated for providing drinking water to students in schools. It should be ensured that no school is left without this facility,” he said.

The officers were told about various welfare schemes for senior citizens, girls, widows and disabled on the occasion.



Residents gunning for license
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
If the data available with the arms license branch here is any indication, more than 1,25,000 city residents possess arms. The number would be higher as there are several others who have kept the arms illegally.

Though a simple procedure has to be adopted by the applicant to get license, the entire exercise is usually complicated with interference of middlemen who promise to get the work done “in minutes”.

Sources in the department said middlemen charged between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 from the applicant for getting the job done. Those who do not hire the services of middlemen rely on local politicians and other influential people to get the license.

“License is not denied to genuine applicants, but people always come with references, which is irritating,” an official of the district administration said.

A majority of applicants were property dealers, who for “security” reasons, wanted weapons. Second in line were agriculturists who required arms for reasons best known to them, the official said, adding that the others fell in the category of show-off. “For many, keeping pistols or guns is a prestige issue,” he said.

On an average, the department got 300-400 applications a month. If the applicant got a government license, he/she got validity for entire Punjab and if one intended to get national validity, some other formalities had to be fulfilled. A fresh applicant was asked to deposit Rs 200 with the Suvidha Centre here, from where the application moves to the police for verification of credentials.

After police verification, the file goes to the office again and the applicant is called for an interview by the official before the issuance of license.



City Concerns

The railway station is one of the most congested areas of the city. Hundreds of migrant labourers land here daily or travel back home. As a result, it gets impossible to commute on adjoining roads at several points during the day.

A number of trains, including Howrah Express, Amarpali, Jan Seva, Himgiri and Garib Rath, besides several others, add to the rush. A cross-section of residents are seeking a station at an alternative location, particularly for handling traffic of the migrant population.

Sources say that the railway authorities are already considering Dhandari Kalan as the best possible alternative venue. The traffic outside the station, particularly the rush of autorickshaws, would be handled well, making space for other vehicles and commuters.

What suggestions would you make to improve the railway station and its neighbourhood?

Responses, in not more than 200 words, can be emailed to ludhianaconcerns@tribunemail.com or sent to our city office at Bhadaur House, Ludhiana.

— City Editor



Akali rebel joins Congress
CM mixing family with politics: Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 12
A special function was organised by an Akali rebel, Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill, in the honour of former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today, in which the formal declaration of Gill's joining the Congress was made.

The former CM, while addressing a press conference, blamed the Chief Minister for mixing family with politics.

He said Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Sukhbir Badal, were smoothing their own path by creating hurdles for the coming generations. "By openly looting the public, the Akalis are busy filling their own coffers by plundering the state." He said Punjab was being driven into penury by the corrupt politics, being played by Badals, so much so that they get aid from the Centre and term it as their own brainchild, he added.

He also blamed that the poor fiscal management by the SAD-BJP alliance was pushing the state towards financial bankruptcy. "In the guise of sangat darshans, Badal is playing with the sentiments of the poor. Badal government is least bothered about progress in the state, and many cheques distributed have been bounced for want of funds in the state," he said. He further said the case recently registered against him was completely false and that it was done with malafied intentions of the Badal family, responsible for the harassment of Congressmen.

Gill said the Akalis had failed to take into account the services of its dedicated workers.

Senior Congress leaders, including Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Bhalinder Singh, Tej Parkash Singh, local MLA, Harmohinder Singh, MLA of Raikot, Malkiat Singh Dakha, former MLA, Gurdip Singh Bhaini, Manish Tiwari, were among those who expressed their views.

Many Akali leaders of Payal constituency have expressed their solidarity towards Gill and promised him their support in the coming Lok Sabha elections.



Kila Raipur sports fest takes political hue
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

A bullock cart race in progress at the 74th Kila Raipur Rural Olympic Games near Ludhiana
A bullock cart race in progress at the 74th Kila Raipur Rural Olympic Games near Ludhiana on Thursday. Tribune photo: Rajesh Bhambi

Ludhiana, February 12
The Kila Raipur rural sports festival, known for its cultural and rural ethos has taken a political colour.

For the first time in the 73 year-old history of rural sports festival, it will witness huge participation of politicians 'particularly Akalis".

The rural Olympic, which was considered mirror to punjabi culture has turned into a political battle ground to woo voters for the upcoming Parliamentary elections.

Huge posters and hoardings of premier Akali leaders, including the father and son duo of Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhvir Badal can easily be spotted at the venue of the rural fest and its surrounding areas.

This is for the fist time that pictures of any political leaders are being displayed by the organisers.

More than one lakh spectators are expected to witness the event. Sources said the move has been taken by the Alkali's to regain power in their old citadel.

Whatever may be the reason behind this development, the move has invited huge criticism amongst the villagers in general and sportsmen in particular.

“This was oldest and only rural festival, which was free from any kind of political interference. I fear that politicians will use this place as their propaganda tool to gain publicity, which will further damage the sanctity of the rural fest,” said a sportsman.

More than 5,000 sportspersons, both in Olympic and traditional style, will converge on the dusty fields during the mega event.

Though, the festival has witnessed a galaxy of Union ministers and MLAs in the past, but it has known for its unbiased approach. The sources said the political colour is the outcome of a compromise between the groups of the village, who were at logerheads for past many years.



Police must reinvent itself: DGP
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, February 12
The Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, conducted its ninth convocation, in which one PhD degree and 78 MA degrees in police administration were given to successful candidates here yesterday.

Dr David Bayley, professor of criminal justice, University of Albany, USA, delivered convocation address. The Punjab DGP, NPS Aulakh, presided over the function.

ML Kumawat, Director General, BSF, and Dr Jairup Singh, Vice Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, were guests of honour.

RS Gill, DGP-cum-Director of the academy, said excellence had always been a tradition in the police training institution. "We have been constantly updating our training methodology by adding latest techniques and other inputs. We especially focus on improving the professional and behavioural effectiveness of police personnel," he said.

"Our effort is always to ensure a healthy link between academy training and field requirements. An effort has been made to coordinate in international partnership projects with the police forces of many other countries," he added.

Dr Balay said the job of the police was the toughest among the public services. The persons in uniform had also to perform other jobs not associated with policing. Aulakh said due to the increasing crime threat in every society, the police had to equip itself with the latest information and professional knowledge. Accordingly, the training strategy had to be redefined and redesigned to suit global policing standards, he said.

Jairup Singh said the police had to face new challenges. Beside a steep increase in cyber crime, the police needed to gear itself for the biological and chemical warfare.

Narinder Bhargav, additional director, PAP, Phillaur, was given a PhD degree.



Reduce input prices, say farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Hundreds of farmers participated in a dharna organised by the Punjab Kisan Sabha at Mini Secretariat here today in support of their demands.

Dr Joginder Dayal, national vice-president of the sabha, said that nearly 70 per cent of the population lived on agriculture, but no steps were being taken by the government to ameliorate their condition. As a result large number of farmers committed suicide every year.

Kartar Singh Boiwani, secretary, Punjab Kisan Sabha, in a press note today said it was high time and the government needed to take immediate steps to reduce the prices of inputs used by farmers. Proper remuneration should be given to farmers for their produce. Potatoes must be saved from rotting. Public distribution system must be effectively implemented to provide the farmers with basic day-to-day needs.

Com. Surinder Singh Jalaldiwal, president of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, Ludhiana, said if their demands were not met, they would be forced to intensify their agitation. Dharnas of this nature were organised at all districts’ headquarters.



Rash driving: Victim yet to get aid
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Petty politics is being played in the guise of providing medication and monetary help to a nine-year-old boy, who has been left crippled for life.

While the accused, Bollywood debutant Kumar Sahil, is on the run ever since the time of the incident, the victim, Rahul, has not been provided any monetary help as promised by the councillor.

Authorities of the Swami Vivekananda Hospital said the victim was still to pay Rs 4,000 dues.

"We are bound to stop the treatment if the balance is not deposited on time," said a receptionist.

Kumar Sahil was booked for rash driving, when his SUV ran over leg of a nine- year-old boy, which had left him crippled for life.

The General Manager of the GK resort, Dilbagh Singh, who promised to deposit the pending amount by the evening, requested the hospital authorities to resume the treatment of the victim.

He alleged that councillor Malvinder Singh Makkar was taking political mileage by unnecessarily dragging Kumar Sahil in the matter.

He further alleged that the councillor promised to provide monetary help of Rs 1.50 lakh to the victim's father, but not a single penny had been paid to the victim so far.

Dilbagh further alleged that the councillor in the garb of helping the youth wanted to usurp the entire amount.

In the crossfire of two heavyweights, it's the son of the rikshaw-puller, who is suffering. Suresh, the father of Rahul, said: "However, the councillor has been providing food and clothes, but no money for treatment has been provided by him."

On the other hand, it is being said that Sahil has fled to Mumbai and the Model Town police is planning to send a team to Mumbai to nab the accused.

It has also been reported that Sahil does not have Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) licence.

Meantime, the SUV has been recovered from the house of Gulshan Kumar.



‘Indian ragas belong to Vedas’
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Dressed in cream dhotis and blue silk kurtas, with complimenting pashmina shawls, Pandit Rajan Mishra and Pandit Sajan Mishra, classical singers, personified serenity as they performed in the city.

The duo was in the city to perform at Master Tara Singh Memorial College, under the aegis of SPIC MACAY a society for promotion of Indian classical music and culture among youth.

With their 400-year-old lineage of music maestros from Benaras, the classical singers view India as an emerging name in the world of music.

Accrediting AR Rehman and Zakir Hussain for taking Indian music to new heights through their well-deserved BAFTA and Grammy Awards, respectively, Pandit Rajan Mishra said: "We are proud of their achievements as they are earning good repute for Indian music."

The duo called themselves as “students”, and not “maestros” adding, "Our ragas belong to Vedas, which can never be mastered."

Pointing towards the need of bridging the gap between masses and classical music, Rajan Mishra emphasised upon the need to do away with the prejudice. "People need to change their notion that classical music is “difficult” as it is all about understanding, not learning. Indians should realise that they are fortunate to have an exposure to something divine and harmonious as Indian classical music," he went on to add.

However, the great Indian musicians expressed disappointment over the popularity of fusion music and western music in India. It was rather sad that Pandit Bhimsen Joshi got a small clipping on the third page of the national dailies, whereas Madonna and Shakira were covered on front pages.



Cashing in on ‘board’ season
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Come board exams and the rates of tuitions have gone up manifold. Inquiries made by The Tribune reporter reveals that some of the teachers are charging Rs 250 per hour, per day and per subject. The charges are further raised even if there is a small increase in the fixed time of one hour. Students have to pay as per the time spent.

The inquiries further show that some teachers are even charging Rs 10,000 per month for home tuitions for one subject especially maths. These days, test series are going on at the tuition centers, where almost each centre has about 70 -100 students per group. Rs 1,500 is charged from every student for one-hour test. The rates of science, maths and English tuitions are even higher as compared to the rates of Punjabi and social studies.

A student of Class X on condition of anonymity disclosed that a teacher demanded Rs 4,000 for test series and for teaching a science chapter. Some teachers are charging Rs 5,000 for one subject. Teachers lay their own terms and conditions for undertaking tuitions.

Despite the provision of helpline by the CBSE providing sample papers, blue print papers, multiple choice questions, paper pattern, information about board exam, marking schemes and syllabus, students still prefer to go for tuitions.

CBSE website has deployed also counsellors to guide the students.

Parents are bearing the brunt by paying the heavy tuition fee. Teachers are losing their image in the society and the traditional ‘guru-chela’ relationship seems to have become a thing of the past.



583 students take Wipro test
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 12
After Wipro Technologies, Bangalore, it’s now Wipro Infotech from Gurgaon that visited RIMT-group of Institutions, Mandi Gobindgarh, on Tuesday to recruit degree students graduating this year.

Chairman of the RIMT group of institutions, Hukam Chand Bansal, said Wipro Infotech is the world's first CMMi Level 5 certified software services company and the first outside USA to receive the IEEE Software Process Award.

Company officials stated that Wipro Infotech is the leading strategic IT partner for companies across India, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. One of the officials also said: “We are discovering RIMT as our hub of recruitments, as this is the sixth time we are visiting the RIMT campus, and we intend to visit again in the month of March to recruit diploma students.”

Chief director general of the institute, SK Ahluwalia, disclosed that more placement opportunities are lined up for students graduating this year, as HCL Technologies Ltd from Noida will be visiting the campus in March to recruit B.Tech, MCA and MBA students for technical and non-technical profiles.

With participation of more than 583 students from different colleges for online test, about 51 students were shortlisted for final interview. Interview lasted till late evening and those selected will be called for joining on completion of degree. Dr Pritpal Singh, principal and Prof Harsh Sadawarti, vice-principal and Prof HS Taluja, director placements, were present on the occasion.



From PAU
Check misuse of ground water: VC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Expressing great concern on excessive exploitation of ground water and natural resources, PAU VC, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, has called for taking steps for its conservation in the state. He warned that if counteractive steps were not taken, the water table would go down by 70-160 ft by 2023, in most of areas of Punjab.

Dr Kang was addressing the delegates during a workshop on “Research and extension specialists” for Kharif crops which began at PAU today.

The two-day workshop is attended by scientists and extension specialists of PAU and agriculture department of Punjab.

Appreciating the steps taken by the Punjab Government last year, forcing farmers to transplant their paddy only after June 15, Dr Kang said, such measures were necessary for the survival of agriculture in the state.

Dr Kang also advocated for adoption of other water saving technologies developed by PAU like use of laser leveller, shifting area from paddy to basmati, bed planting, use of tensiometer and growing crops that require less water. He further said, for nation's progress, agriculture must be made sustainable. To give an impetus to research in biotechnology, an independent school of agricultural biotechnology has been established in the university.

For boosting production level of different crops, Punjab joint director agriculture, Dr Nirankar Singh, said state government had set higher targets for the forthcoming Kharif season as compared to Kharif -2008. Area under paddy during Kharif -2009 was targeted at 2, 600 lakh hectare as compared to 27.7 lakh hectares during Kharif-08. The scientists of PAU deliberated new research findings made during the last year and got feedback from the extension personals of the state department of agriculture. Dr Kang visited the exhibition of latest farm technologies that was put up on the occasion.

Kirtan darbar

The Punjab Agricultural University Students Association (PAUSA), organised a gurbani kirtan in Hostel No. 2 this morning for the peace and well-being of humanity.

The kirtan was recited by performers, Gurudwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib. The student hostellers from various colleges also joined the prayer for humanity welfare. The PAU VC, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, too joined the programme. Dr Kang said today’s youth had tremendous potential and could render a useful service towards nation building.

The PAUSA representatives said such divine programmes would be held by involving other hostels in future. Various speakers deliberated on how to address the prevailing social and environmental vices and discussed the importance of human values for leading a superior life. A ‘guru ka langar’ was also served on the occasion.



Quiz contest at college
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 12
An intra-college quiz contest was held at Guru Tegh Bahadur National College, Dakha. The contest was a part of a series of contests being conducted by Synetic Business School, Ludhiana.

Three teams of BCom (I), BCom (II) and Arts vied for the honours. The quiz tested the participants in four rounds- Punjab, India, international affairs and management. The team comprising of Gulshan Kumar, Vicky Garg and Sahil Gogna of BCom (III) stood first scoring 65 point outsmarting its nearing rival the team led by Chanchal Singh of BA (III) by 15 points. The winners will participate in an inter-college grand finale to be held in Synetic Business School in March. The college team had won a cash prize of Rs 3,000 last year in a similar contest held by the same institution.



MC notice to petrol station
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
The municipal corporation yesterday issued a show-cause notice to a petrol station that had been given green light by the district administration.

Notably, the MC had removed the petrol tanker from the station in December, 2008 after Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal had held a press conference.

Representing the residents of Pink Vihar who were against the setting up of the petrol station in a thickly populated area, he had demanded that the station should not be allowed in such a congested area.

Area councillor Satish Naagar had alleged that the petrol station owner had grabbed government land for construction of petrol station.

He had stated that the revenue records of the old GT road measured 165 sq ft, while on the ground it was 83 sq ft.



Tewari men seek Galib’s ouster
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
The ongoing tussle between the Congress factions in the city over the Ludhiana parliamentary seat became “official” with supporters of Manish Tewari holding a press conference here today and criticising Gurcharan Singh Galib.

The faction included PPCC member Pawan Deewan and former Congress presidents of Ludhiana city and rural, Krishan Kumar Bawa and Gurdev Singh Lapra, respectively, who demanded the dismissal of Galib.

Supporters of Tewari questioned the loyalty of Galib and said: “In his 40-year political career, he has never proved his commitment towards the Congress and has opposed party decisions various times.”

They added that Galib had no right to call Tewari an outsider. Terming Tewari as a better candidate, the leaders claimed: “Though Tewari lost to sitting MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon during the last elections, he had more mass appeal.” They said Galib had enjoyed the seat of MP for 10 years, but had failed to speak about the development of the city.

On February 10, the leader of opposition, municipal house, Prem Mittal, along with some other Congress councillors, had urged Galib not to leave the party.

Councillors Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Raju Thappar and some former councillors had claimed that former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and Congress senior leader Ambika Soni were supporters of Galib and were trying to get him ticket from the Ludhiana constituency.



Writers meet at Rose Garden

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 12
A monthly meeting of the Punjabi Likhari Sabha, Mandi Gobindgarh, held under the presidentship of Amir Dhawan in the Rose Garden here today.

Writers and poets S Surjit Singh Marjara, Anoop Khanpuri, Kirpal Singh Naz, Bhim Sen Moudgil, Rajesh Bhatia, Dharam Pal Anwar, Aman Bedard, Jagjit Singh Guram and Amir Dhawan presented their poems, songs, writings and gazals. — OC



Rotary governor

Ludhiana, February 12
Sanjiv Sethi, former president of the Rotary club of the city, has been elected district governor of the club for session 2011-12 at a conference held in Amritsar on February 8.

He polled 91 votes against 59 polled by his rival Dr PS Grover of Amritsar. As many as 105 clubs from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir participated in the election. — TNS



3 impostors decamp with Rs 5,000
Tribune News Service

Khanna, February 12
Three men, posing as cops, snatched away Rs 5,120 cash and lottery tickets worth Rs 6,000 from Prakash Singh, a resident of the Anand Nagar area, here.

The incident took place when Prakash Singh was going on his motorcycle. The moment he reached near Khanna Nursing Home, three men dressed in police uniform signalled him to stop. When he alighted from his motorbike, they started frisking him and snatched away his belongings and ran away.

He also lost his PAN card, driving licence, identity card and other belongings in the incidence. The accused were later on identified as Shiv Kumar, Guddu and Chhotu.

A case has been registered against all three accused.



Body found, family suspects foul play
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 12
A dead body was recovered near railway lines this morning. The body was recovered about 200 yards from railway crossings on the Raikot Road. The deceased has been identified as Niranjan Verma (40), who worked at Bengali Tailors, main bazaar, Jagraon.

Though Sukhdev Singh Aulakh of GRP, Jagraon, claims it to be an accident case, the circumstances makes the death to be suspicious. Ravi Verma (14), son of the deceased, said two persons had come to his shop around 7.30 in the evening on the previous day and took him along.

Since then Niranjan went missing and the family searched for him during the night. His mobile phone was also switched off since last evening. Sukhdev Singh said they had proceeded under Section 174 of the CrPC on the statement of Sunaina Verma, wife of the deceased. However, he added they would register the case under appropriate sections only after getting the postmortem report.



College students beaten up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Four outsiders beat up two students on the premises of Kamla Lotiya college here today. However, the other students nabbed the accused and handed them over to the police.

The incident took place when BBA students Jaswinder and Gaurav allegedly beat up a BCom student Gurcharan Singh following an argument.

To settle scores, Gurcharan reportedly called his friends who came to the college and started fighting with the duo.

The college students, however, reacted strongly to the intervention of outsiders.

The college authorities tried to ignore the matter and even argued with The Tribune lensman.

Later, the miscreants were taken to the police station, where both parties reached a compromise.



Man found dead
Our Correspondent

Samrala, February 12
A dead body was recovered from Sirhind canal near Dhande village near here late last evening.

CIA in charge Gurbinder Singh said the deceased, Harvinder Singh, was a resident of Mohali. His servant Ranbir Singh and three of his companions had thrown him away near Dhande village.

The deceased was a property dealer and some dispute had arisen between him and his servant resulting in his death.

He went missing from the last four days and his body was recovered after interrogation of his servant.



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