L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Local bodies director,MC officials booked
Accused of helping a coloniser, husband of an MC councillor, for declaring private roads as public
Kanchan Vasdev and Rajneesh Lakhanpal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau has booked Director, Local Bodies Department, Punjab, Senior Town Planner and Area Town Planner of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, on the charges of helping a coloniser, husband of a councillor, for declaring private roads as public, thereby violating norms and causing a loss of crores to state exchequer.

A case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of IPC and Section 13 (D) of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the Local Bodies Director and former Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, S.K. Sharma, STP Balkar Singh Brar, ATP Kanwaljit Kaur and the director of Veer Colonisers.

According to an FIR registered by the VB, a copy of which is with The Tribune, the officials allegedly declared the roads of a colony developed by Veer Coloniers public by not accepting development charges and throwing to winds all the norms. A drain passing through the city, too, was covered without even informing the drainage department and levelled land worth crores was passed on to the coloniser.

The multi-crore scam dates back to 2006 when the Bahadurke Textile and Knitwear Association wrote a letter to the then MC Commissioner for declaring the roads of 90,000 square yards colony on Bahadurke Road public. The colony is owned by Veer Colonisers, whose director is Tarun Jain, husband of councillor Ruchi Jain.

The application was forwarded by the STP Brar who marked it to ATP Kanwaljit Kaur. A survey plan of colony was prepared with signatures of Brar. Junior draftsman Chander Parkash's signatures on the report, too, were found fake during vigilance inquiry. The survey plan was not even enclosed in the record file of the MC since it was fake.

The idea behind preparing fake report was to save the coloniser development charges that amounted to 75 per cent of the area. The roads and streets were declared public under Section 242 without taking the money for state exchequer. As per rules the action should have been taken under section 241. This caused a loss of Rs 4 crore to state exchequer.

The FIR states that ATP Kanwaljit, too, accepted bribe for giving reports in contravention of rules. No publication announcing the development was made in any of the newspapers. Local Bodies Director, Sharma too is accused of flouting the norms to favour the coloniser.

So much so that the Bahadurke drain passing through the area was closed and the possession was given to Veer Colonisers. No NOC was taken from drainage department. The Tribune had also highlighted the matter at that time. No development charges were taken, the site map prepared too did not have signatures of drawing branch employees. It was not even tabled in MC house.

The VB is yet to make arrest in the case and the officials are tightlipped on the issue.


Sahir forgotten by Ludhianvis
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Today Ludhiana is known as the industrial city but before this it was known as Sahir's Ludhiana. His birth anniversary falls on March 8. While Sahir's name has only grown over the years internationally, but back home, it is altogether a different story to narrate. 

It is only Sahir's Bollywood connection that youngsters are aware of. No one can ever forget his highly romantic song which Amitabh Bachchan sang, "Kabhie Kabhie mere dil mein, khayal aata hai……"

Sahir studied and graduated from Khalsa High School in Ludhiana and then at SCD Government College, where Amrita Pritam became his most ardent fan.

Remembering him Vidya Sagar Bhalla, a contemporary of Sahir, said he was one year senior to me when he joined college. "I rate his movie ‘Hum Dono’ as the best," he shared. Though later he shifted to Mumbai along with his another friend Jaidev, he used to visit the city and meet his friends.

"The site, earlier allotted for Sahir Memorial in Model Town Extension, was auctioned without making fresh assurance on the memorial. Although the Beant Singh government allocated Rs 60 lakh, nothing could be materialised. Whether the memorial is built or not, he will always remain in the hearts of the people," he said.

That's what Sahir is about for the young brigade. "I guess Sahir was a lyricist", quips a student of SCD Government College for Boys, which incidentally was the alma mater of Sahir Ludhianvi.

For about 30 years, Sahir remained associated with the Hindi film industry. He composed hundreds of songs for Hindi/Urdu films. Most of his songs became popular and are even today sung by people of all generations. His first Urdu work was “Talkhiyaan” (Bitterness). Other books include “Parchayian” and “Gata Jaye Banjara”. The Sahir Cultural Academy has been organising Jashn-e-Sahir Mushiara in Ludhiana for the past 35 years.

The great Urdu poet, who brought fame to the city, has been lost in the oblivion in the city of the rich. The renowned poet seemed to have an intuition of his fate in the city when he penned the lines: "Kal koi mujh ko yaad kare, kyun koi mujh ko yaad kare, masroof zamana mere liye, kyon waqt apna barbaad kare".



ICAR okays revision of pay scales 
Hope for PAU teachers
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The teachers and scientists at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here have welcomed the revision of pay scales and career advancement schemes of scientists by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) with a hope that the new grades will be implemented soon.

The teachers say since the grades were implemented at the ICAR despite imposition of the model code of conduct, there should be no hitch in implementing the revised pay scales in the state agricultural universities.

Dr S.K.Gupta, senior lecturer at the plant-breeding department of the PAU said the revision was done after a period of about 10 years. In the revised scheme notified by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), there were three categories of teachers, including assistant professor, associate professor and professor, as against the existing hierarchy of lecturer, lecturer (senior scale) and lecturer (selection grade), reader and professor.

The scientists will be placed in two pay bands of Rs 15,600-39,100 (PB-3) and Rs 37,400-67,000 (PB-4) according to their designation and length of service in the grade with corresponding Research Pay Grade (RPG).

Former Secretary, Punjab Agricultural University, Dr R.S. Brar said the last revision of pay scales was implemented in 1996. This time, grades will be implemented from January 2006, which was a long wait, he said, adding the ICAR scientists holding veterinary qualifications (BVSc/MVSc) would be paid non-practicing allowance in accordance with Ministry of Finance. Besides, as per new pay revision, scientists or the teachers with higher qualifications will also be given incentives.

The teachers are of the view that since the Central government had announced the revision of pay scales even after imposition of code of conduct, the implementation should not be delayed. The teachers/scientists working in state agricultural universities should be given revised pay scales as soon as possible, they said.



3 nabbed for snatching
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The Shimlapuri police busted a three-member gang of alleged snatchers and recovered a stolen motorcycle from the accused.

The accused youths were nabbed from near Daba Loraha bridge, while they were going on a bike to commit another snatching.

According to SHO, Shimlapuri, Gagandeep Singh, they were behind many snatching incidents that took place in the past few months.

The accused are identified as Mohit Singla, Amar Giri and Ashok Kumar, all residents of Harkrishan Singh Nagar in Shimlapuri.



Poll Khol — IV
Politicians close eyes to water quality 
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Have you ever given a thought to the quality of water you are drinking? If reports of Central Groundwater Regulation and Management Department are to be believed, the quality of groundwater here is worst in Punjab. In Ludhiana, where groundwater is the only source of potable water, one can think how serious the elected representatives are as far as health of residents is concerned.

Though the Municipal Corporation is supplying water through 490 tubewells, including 100 shallow tubewells, water shortage is growing by the day in the city.

While the residents are being catered with 490 tubewells, those living in slums have 500 water stand posts for their requirements.

Surprisingly, the civic body does not have the map of potable water pipes in the city. Moreover, the politicians have never bothered to inquire about it from the officials concerned.

Health experts fear that if the quality of water is not improved, the coming generations will be vulnerable to various ailments due to low immunity level.

According to official records, from the 377 water samples collected both urban and rural schools in the district in 2008, as many as 133 were found to be unfit for drinking.

The successive state governments have failed to restructure the potable water network in the city. With the growth in population, new pipes are being laid leading to mixing of sewerage water with drinking water in many areas. The irony is that the elected representatives never thought to spare a time and inquire about the quality of water being supplied in the city.

Talking to The Tribune, Jaswinder Kaur, a housewife, rued that the MPs are the only elected representatives who never try to reach the masses. “It’s only during the elections they visit residents to seek votes, she added.

Another resident Mandeep Kaur said she does not know whether she has to choose best among good or bad among worst. 



Women’s Day
Unfair treatment on for fair sex
Mohit Khanna
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
While the world is gearing up to celebrate International Women’s Day, the condition of women is still in a sorry state. Eve teasing, molestation, acid attack and physical assault are the order of the day in the city. Despite, repeated assurances by the police, the city is not safe for girls.

Unruly youths of rich family feels proud of teasing girls.

The recent incident in which a youth was beaten black and blue at PVR for raising voice against the eve teasing depicts the moral degeneration of youths of the city.

The city has witnessed a marked rise in the atrocities against women.

However, the case of rape has shown a marginal dip as compared to 46 in 2008 from 56 in 2007.

As many as 78 cases of abduction with an intention to marry or have illicit relations (Section 366) were registered in the city.

The district has another notorious first to its credit. Ludhiana is first among the region with the lowest sex ratio. The city which is popular to name a girl “Veerawali”, sister of many brothers, has shown considerable interest towards male child.

In a recent survey, parents argued that they could afford only one female child in the family.

Dowry deaths and other dowry-related crimes also continue at the same rate year after year.

The Marriage Disputes’ Cell here witnesses more than 100 cases in a month. In most of the cases, wives allege harassment at the hands of their drug-addict husbands, who refuse to work and earn to run their families.

A senior police official said since the city has full of migrants, the number of cases against women have also witnessed a marked increase.

However, girls continue to suffer at the hands of NRI grooms, who, after marrying a girl, disappears, leaving a girl suffer for the rest of her life as she hopes that her NRI husband would take her abroad.

Declining sex ratio has resulted into trafficking of children and women for various purposes, including sexual exploitation. Forced prostitution had become one of the most reprehensible and heinous crimes against the humanity. Due to alarming increase of female foeticide in Punjab, there had been high incidence rate in cross-border and inter-state trafficking and sexual abuse among women and adolescent girls.

People stressed that there was a need to re-establish the balance in male/female sex ratio in Punjab.

Harish Rai Dhanda, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, emphasised the enforcement of the PNDT Act at the grossroot level. He said equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedom by women and girls was a priority for Punjab.

Child Development and Project Officer Rupinder Kaur said female foeticide could not be controlled unless the attitude of society was changed.

According to 2001 census figures in Punjab, an average number of girls (0-6 years) per 1000 males was 793. The same further declined to 774 as per Registrar General, Government of India report, Act 2003 as per a study conducted in 2003-04. 



Sukhbir Badal plays development card 
Tribune News Service

Amloh/Mandi Gobindgarh, March 7
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal urged party workers and people to help SAD in the coming Lok Sabha elections. He addressed the party workers at various meetings at Amloh, Mandi Gobindgarh and Khanna.

“We have been campaigning rigorously for the past many days, even as the Congress has not announced its candidates and seems to be confused over the allotment of tickets”, he said.

He further added Punjab would not allow the neighboring states to eye on its legitimate water share.

Badal said the SAD-BJP government was seeking votes from public on the basis of unprecedented development initiated in the first two years of its regime.

Lashing out at the Congress, Badal said his government had initiated many developmental projects in Punjab, including the express-ways, three international airports and three domestic airports with a combined investment of more than Rs 72,000 crore.

Seeking votes for Charanjit Singh Atwal, SAD-BJP candidate from Fatehgarh Sahib, Sukhbir said Atwal was the right candidate to take up the cause of Punjab in Parliament.



MC accused of tampering with tenders
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Alleging tampering of tender by the B&R department of the Municipal Corporation, contractor Arun Kumar Singla has written a complaint to Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia, Principal Secretary DS Bains and Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) AK Prabhakar.

Talking to The Tribune, Arun said: "I have been working for the Municipal Corporation for the past 25 years, but the way works have been allocated in last one and half year, the corruption has been at its highest in the civic body. The MC officials, along with some contractors, are pooling work and I have a list written by a contractor, mentioning which work has to be allotted to whom."

The complaint states that the date of submitting tenders that was scheduled to be February 25 was extended to February 27 at the behest of contractors, who in compliance with the MC officials, want to get the projects. Besides, the works were allotted on March 2 itself, while Saturday and Sunday were government holidays so that projects could be allotted before election code of conduct comes into force.

Alleging involvement of some top official of the MC too, Arun said: "Till date, contractors have never been paid 10 per cent profit on Bitumen cost, but the MC officials are also trying to incorporate the rule in the tenders."

Singla has written several complaints about corruption in the civic body earlier too, and taking them seriously, Prabhakar had directed the Municipal Commissioner GS Ghuman to enquire into the allegations and submit a report by March 3. The letter was sent to the Municipal Commissioner by the CVO in February this year, and no report had been submitted till date, added sources.

He claimed that he had, earlier too, complained about irregularities and the vigilance department had inspected work on Hambran Road and 22-feet road and contractors were found guilty.

Prabhakar said: "I have received a complaint of Arun Kumar today and we will soon decide how to proceed on the complaint."



Invigilator assaulted for stopping mass copying
Our Correspondent

Raikot, March 7
An invigilator had a sour experience when he was physically assaulted for disallowing mass copying. On March 5, Amandeep Singh, a political science lecturer at Government Senior Secondary School, Bhaini Baringa, was on duty as invigilator at the SGG Senior Secondary School, Gondwal, near here for the chemistry exam in the evening session.

He saw the staff of the school indulged in mass copying by their students. When he objected, as many as five male staff members of the school started physically assaulting him. He said two of them were calling each other by the name of Hardeep Singh and Balwinder Singh. Meantime, a when a flying squad of the area visited the school premises, they threatened him to keep mum or face dire consequences.

The victim narrated the entire incident to Varinder Sharma, incharge of the flying squad, and expressed his apprehensions that the school staff would again assault him after their departure. Sharma asked to inform him immediately if some untoward incident occurred.

As the flying squad left, the school staff again started assaulting him and even snatched his phone. By that time, he had already informed the local police, which visited the spot. Instead of listening to his complaints, the police took the side of the school staff and asked them to maintain the situation.

Amandeep has lodged a complaint against the school staff with the local police, Jagraon SSP, Ludhiana DIG, besides DEO, Ludhiana, and Punjab School Education Board authorities. The SSP, Jagraon, Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, said SHO, Raikot, was entrusted to inquire the matted and book the guilty. He further said the Raikot police had asked the school teachers to return his mobile phone. 

However, the SHO, Raikot, said he had not received any complaint till filing of this report. He said he would act accordingly after he receives a complaint. He had called Amandeep to the police station to lodge his complaint and get his statement recorded, he said.

Sharma said he had still not got any information of the incident, thus the question of any action does not arise at all. Amarjit Kaur, DEO Secondary, refuted all the allegations that the school staff was indulged in the incident. She said he was assaulted by outsiders outside the school. 

They snatched his phone and after half an hour returned it to him. She had got the complaint and had forwarded to higher authorities for inquiry and necessary action, she said.



PAU holds kisan mela at Rauni 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The Punjab Agricultural University(PAU) organised a kisan mela at its krishi vigyan kendra, Rauni (Patiala), yesterday. Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, was the chief guest, while PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang was the guest of honour.

Lakhowal appreciated the PAU for developing new seeds, relevant crop production and protection technologies. He said the PAU had taken some landmark steps that transformed the rural scenario of Punjab, making farming community prosper and contributed significantly towards national food security. He said the credit of making Punjab the food basket of the country went to the PAU .

Highlighting the agrarian issues currently confronting Punjab agriculture, Lakhowal said depleting underground water table and natural resource base were the most alarming problems for which the PAU had to strengthen need-based research programmes. He said marketing, being the most important tool in agriculture, needs to be strengthened for providing relevant information to farmers so that they could market their products profitably. 

He added that the PAU should start an agricultural marketing set up to take up research and developmental activities. Kang said the university was running pro-farming programmes and that it was endeavoring to provide scientific back up to farming community to make their farming profitable. He emphasised upon judicious use of natural resources. Kang suggested farmers to regularly participate in PAU kisan melas and to develop habit of reading farm literature brought out by PAU.

On the occasion, dignitaries and farmers were shown field demonstrations, and presentations organised to project latest technologies developed by various PAU departments and KVK. The chief guest was honoured with a bouquet and memento. Various publications, including the PAU crop calender-2009, brochures on KVK, Rauni, were released. 



Hospital staff seek more wages 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The Private Hospital and Nursing Home Employees’ Federation organised a convention at Punjabi Bhawan here today. A large number of workers from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, CMC, Kapoor Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital and Mohan Dai Oswal Hospital joined the convention. 

Bant Singh Brar, general secretary, All-India Trade Unions, Punjab, inaugurated the convention and Harish Rai Dhanda, chief parliament secretary, the Punjab government, was the chief guest. Brar demanded minimum wages for the hospital employees as per the Minimum Wages Act. 

Dr Arun Mitra, senior leader, the IMA, demanded that pay scales, allowances and other service benefits be given to the hospital employees on the pattern of the state government.

BM Fredrick appealed to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to withdraw all cases registered against the employees of DMCH during the strike period of 2002. Dhanda promised the employees that he would take up the case with the state government on priority so that the cases be withdrawn. 



DMCH Convocation
Sheenam gets gold 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
As many as 72 medical graduates of the 2003 batch were awarded degrees and prizes at the annual convocation of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here today. Dr SS Gill, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, was the chief guest.

Principal Dr Daljit Singh read out the annual report of the college, highlighting the achievements and progress made by its various departments, faculty and units in the last year.

Gill congratulated the parents and the teachers of the young doctors for their unending efforts, guidance, patience and perseverance.

Sunil Kant Munjal, president of the DMCH managing society, asked the graduates to fulfill their duty with utmost dedication and within the limits of medical ethics.

He exhorted the medical graduates to keep faith in their profession.

Vice-principal Dr Jagdeep Whig administered the Hippocratic Oath to them before presenting them degrees.

The gold medal for the best graduate was presented to Dr Sheenam Sharma, and the silver medal to Dr Shikha Madan.

The best all-rounder award went to Dr Harleen Kaur. The best intern award was given to Dr Surneet Kaur Hayer.

The chief guest presented 67 prizes and 13 medals to the students of various batches, who had excelled in various subjects.

Medical superintendent Dr Sandeep Puri, vice-president of DMCH managing society Amrit Nagpal, secretary of the society Prem Kumar Gupta, treasurer Satish Sanwalka, members of the society, medical superintendent Dr Rajoo Singh Chhina and Dr BS Shah were also present.



Annual day at dental college
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College celebrated its annual day last evening. It was a perfect blend of creativity, thought, comedy and wit. The evening marked the culmination of Sardar Jawala Singh Memorial Annual Sports Meet in which students, faculty and staff showed their skills in various outdoor and indoor games.

Prof Dr SS Gill, VC, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, presided over the function as the chief guest.

In his address, he stressed on the need for medical and dental students/professionals to follow and uphold the ethics of this noble profession.

Principal Dr DS Kalsi presented the college annual report highlighting the development and new milestones achieved both in academics and upgradation of latest dental treatment technologies.

Highlight of the event was the presentation of Sardar Jawala Singh Memorial Overall Trophy to the overall champions of both the sports meet and the cultural events and the proud winner of this trophy were creative interns who scored maximum points overall.

The runners-up trophy went to final year students.

In addition to this, medals and certificates were also awarded to all winners in various games and mementos were presented to the winners of cultural events.



Paddy rotting at tehsil complex
Our Correspondent

Khamano March 7
Advocates and employees of the local tehsil office in a letter to the general manager (Procurement), Agro Chandigarh, demanded to lift paddy from Tehsil Complex, Khamano, which is lying there from the last many months.

In the letter they said a large number of paddy of Punjab Agro was lying in open and small worms (Susri) had grown in it. These worms flew and create problems in their work.

They alleged fear that due to these worms any skin disease could develop and their health could be in danger. They had demanded the department concerned to immediately lift the paddy so that they could work properly.



Illegal use of beacon lights common in Malwa
Peddlers using vehicle arrested
Our correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 7
Red beacon lights are a common sight atop vehicles in Malwa these days. Though officials who used unauthorised beacon in routine have put off the status symbol after enforcement of election code of conduct, politicians and godmen (babas), allegedly supported by those at the helm of affairs, continue to violate norms flaunting beacon lights atop their vehicles.

As the police officials who dared to act against ‘influential violators’ had to face the grunt of their seniors in the past, cops hesitate to intercept vehicles bearing red or blue beacons atop.

Exploiting the alleged weakness of the cops, some anti-social elements, including drug peddlers, were found carrying out their illegal business in vehicles having beacon lights. The local police had nabbed four members of one such gang and seized a huge quantity of poppy husk being carried in a van with blue beacon light atop.

However, the Sangrur district police claimed to have launched move against the violators. DSP, Malerkotla, Gurpreet Singh Sikand challaned a SAD leader and former cabinet minister for alleged illegal use of red beacon atop his Scorpio vehicle (PB-10-AY-0121) recently.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that use of red beacons atop vehicles had become a fashion among self-styled VIPs. The flaunters included former ministers, former legislators, defeated candidates and heads of certain religious places.

Though the tendency should have been checked after enforcement of code of conduct by the election commission, regional leaders of parties in regime in the state increased the use, obviously to influence voters of their respective areas.

Rank and file in the Sangrur police has been directed to take appropriate action against anyone who uses unauthorized beacon. Referring to direction received from his superiors DSP Gurpreet Singh Sikand said he had directed all SHOs to ensure that rules are not violated in their respective areas. “We have also assured that cops performing their duty diligently while checking beacon bearing vehicles will not be harassed,” said Sikand adding that office bearers of all parties had been appealed to cooperate in the matter.

Sikand said the beacon can be put only on cars of specified dignitaries and can be switched on only if the dignitary is sitting in the car and is on duty. Else, the red light is supposed to be not used and covered with a black cover. Even police officers, who are allowed to use such light, can only switch those on in their area of jurisdiction

According to Section 177 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1989, using beacon on private vehicle is a punishable offence. But the police maintained that misuse of such lights is very high. 



Two arrested for robbery
Our Correspondent

Amloh, March 7
The police arrested two persons in a robbery c here today. DSP Raminder Singh said an FIR was registered by resident of Birdano village Harkirat Singh on March 5.

Harkirat said he was looted by three persons, who came on a motorcycle. They took away his mobile phone and money.

The police nabbed Sukhwinder Singh alias Kala, resident of Mais village (Nabha), and Jaswinder Singh alias Harry alias Pathi, resident of Pandusar Mohalla, Nabha, while their third accomplice Varinder Singh Cheena, resident of Kartar colony, Nabha, could not be arrested.

The motorcycle (PB-11-AF-5080) and the mobile phone have been recovered from their possession.



Bodies of new-borns found in bin

Ludhiana, March 7
Bodies of two newborns were found from the garbage bin near CMCH last night. The bodies were first spotted by a sweeper, who went to throw garbage in the dustbin situated on the backside of the hospital. 

The sweeper immediately informed the police, which further kept the bodies in its possession.

The police has registered an FIR against the unidentified women and started the investigation. The police has checked the records of CMC hospital and maternity clinics of the surrounding area. — TNS



2 snatchers nabbed
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, March 7
The Dakha police has nabbed two snatchers accused of many crimes yesterday. The accused are identified as Parminder Singh and Swaranjit Singh.

They were arrested from the local bus stand by a police party led by ASI Gurmeet Singh during routine patrolling.

On seeing the police they tried to escape but the police succeeded in nabbing them along with snatched mobile phones.

SHO Yogi Raj said there were about 10 cases pending against them and were currently wanted in two cases registered against them. 



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