C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU teachers’ evaluation hangs fire
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Uncertainty prevails over the Panjab University administration’s take on the issue of evaluation of teachers in the current academic session, particularly in the wake of the University Grants Commission’s recent proposal to make the exercise optional.

However, student organisations are keen to host the teachers’ evaluation activity at their own level this time. Following unrest during the student council polls a few days back, teachers’ evaluation is likely to be a bone of contention between student groups this year.

“We’re prepared to have teachers’ evaluation conducted this year but the varsity must take notice of the problems being faced by students. Only if PU officials take some concrete action on teachers would their evaluation be meaningful,” said new student council president Gurindervir Singh Aulakh.

The Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), on the other hand, has already made it evident the group would ensure that teachers evaluation is conducted on the campus in the current academic session. SOPU leaders also claimed that, unlike last year, the results of this evaluation by students would be made public this time.

Despite an open discussion on the campus about the practice of teachers’ evaluation, varsity officials and members of the PU teachers union are tightlipped on the issue. When questioned on whether the authorities would officially conduct the evaluation this year, PU vice chancellor RC Sobti said, “I’ve no comments on the issue to make right now.”

In its reaction on the issue, Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) president, Jaspal Kaur Kang, said: “We’ll discuss what stand PUTA should take on teachers’ evaluation with the executive members. I can’t comment on the issue without speaking to the members of the associations.” 



Chaos at PGI OPDs as token system withdrawn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Another trial by the PGI authorities to manage the crowd in its outdoor patient departments (OPDs) seemingly backfired today.

The authorities stopped issuing the token number to the new patients for registration on the counters, leading to long queues, which could be seen till afternoon even as the normal timings of registration were over by 11 am.

Till now the authorities used to issue token numbers to the visitors while handing over them a slip bearing their names and other particulars so that there remained no confusion over the particulars when the data was inserted in computers at registration counters.

The patients, after obtaining the token number, used to wait for the turn and reached the counter on the call. Today the patients were asked to go to the registration counters directly. Being Monday, there were more than 500 patients, many of them with their attendants present in the OPD. This led to long queues and till 11 am, only 233 new patients were registered, while hundreds were still waiting for their turn.

By that time, the patients lost their temper and exchanged heated arguments with employees on counters and staff members who were being issued registration cards on a priority basis. However, the situation was controlled before it could take an ugly turn with the intervention of securitymen deployed in the hospital.

Keeping in view the situation, the authorities decided to keep the counters open till everybody present there was issued registration card. And by evening, a total number of 353 new Pottawatomie were examined at the medical OPDs.

A fortnight ago, the authorities came under severe criticism over restricting the number of patients at this OPD. Later the decision was taken back.

The PGI spokesperson, when contacted, said the token system was withdrawn to shorten the procedure of registration for patients.



Marathon Operation
Rare heart surgery at PGI
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Doctors at the PGI, Chandigarh, have conducted a 14-hour rare heart surgery and saved the life of a 25-year-old Yamuna Nagar resident Ramesh of Tejli village. A team of 7 doctors, including four surgeons, performed the surgery with groundbreaking results.

Ramesh’s heart before surgery: ascending aorta-11 cm, arch of aorta-13 cm, descending aorta-15 cm; and (right) Normal-situation aorta 2- 2.5 cm

All details about the patient and surgery were revealed at a press conference addressed by Dr Dr G D Puri, Professor in charge, Cardiac Anaesthesia, Advanced Cardiac Centre, PGI, here, today.

“The patient is recovering fast, and is able to breathe normally and takes his meals without any hindrance. In a first of its kind operation, the aorta in the chest (ascending aorta, arch of aorta and part of the descending aorta with 11, 13 and 15 centimeter of dilatation, respectively) was replaced along with the aortic valve”, said Puri. He said there were no records available of any similar surgery, anywhere in the world.

Ramesh was diagnosed with a huge dilatation of the aorta (the major artery carrying the blood from heart to the rest of the body). The aorta was enlarged 5-6 times more than the normal size. The ascending aorta, arch of aorta, part of the descending aorta and the aortic valve, which performs as a one-way valve for onward flow of blood from the heart to the rest of body, was also leaking badly. This had led to enlargement of the heart.

The patient was not able to lie down as the weight of dilated aorta began compressing the windpipe making it difficult for him to breath. He had difficulty in swallowing his food as the dilated aorta had compressed the food pipe as well. Similarly, the hugely dilated aorta was also compressing the lungs and the vessels supplying the blood to the lungs.

During the operation, the patient was cooled to preserve the brain and other organs of the body. The blood circulation was suspended for approximately two hours during the surgery.

Following the surgery, the patient was kept in the intensive care unit (ICU) and discharged from there after two weeks of intensive monitoring and therapy.

The surgical team was led by Professor Shyam Kumar Thingnum along with Dr Anand Misra while the perfusion team was led by Kanchan Ba.

A14-hour rare heart surgery was performed to save the life of 25-year-old Yamuna Nagar resident Ramesh. The patient’s aorta was enlarged 5-6 times the normal size. A team of seven doctors, including four surgeons, performed the surgery with groundbreaking results.

It is my rebirth. It was after more than eight months that I was able to breath and eat properly. As the surgical procedure required grafts and valves, the “Poor Patient Fund” of the PGI provided costly medicines.

— Ramesh

Ramesh was living on an artificial heart and lung machine for nearly two hours. We had taken a big chance because normally no patient is kept on an artificial heart for more than 45 minutes.

— Dr GD Puri
Prof in charge, Cardiac Anaesthesia, ACC, PGI



Property tax from religious institutions, dharamshalas?
Mayor thinks so, orders survey
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh September 6
In a queer decision, MC Mayor Anu Chatrath has directed the house tax assessment committee to carry out a survey of religious places and dharamshalas to levy property tax. This, even as property tax has never been imposed on them in the past.

The official statement of the tax department tabled in the last house meeting clearly stated that as the corporation did not impose property tax on such institutions, the house should not consider the proposal of exemption of property tax on them.

Officials in the tax department said the corporation was already getting Rs 7 lakh annually from such institutions as service tax. If the exemption was considered, it would lead to unnecessary loss to the corporation’s exchequer.

As per the provisions of the corporation bylaws, the corporation does not charge commercial property tax from religious places. Instead, it imposes a nominal service charge on the services provided like road, water and parking to these institutions.

Even all dharamshala buildings are covered under the institutional building Act for which the authorities charge a fixed amount of Rs 10 per sq ft, as these have been constructed on the site earmarked for a specific purpose.

Overlooking this fact, the Mayor has directed the chairman of the house tax and assessment committee to conduct a survey of all dharamshalas and religious places of the city that are involved in charitable activities or providing guest house facility at nominal rates. She has also proposed to charge a minimal slab of property tax on them.

A majority of councillors suggested that as most of the charitable trusts were providing services to public, they should be exempt from the payment of property tax.

House Tax Assessment Committee chairman Harphool Chand Kalyan said the process of survey of religious places and dharamshala was on and they would table the report in the next house meeting.



Electricity staff to observe strike today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The UT Powermen Union has given a call for observance of one-day strike tomorrow in pursuance of the call given by the Central Trade Unions.

A spokesman of the UT Administration stated, “The Chandigarh Administration has always been sympathetic to the genuine demands of the electricity employees and there is no cause for any strike by the employees. The principle of ‘No work no pay’ shall be strictly enforced. The employees are, therefore, advised to attend their duty. The defaulting employees will also be liable for other disciplinary action under the Essential Services Maintenance Act.”

The public is requested, in general, to contact various complaint centres in their area for electricity complaints. The public is also requested to keep a vigil on the electricity lines and in case they find anyone indulging in sabotage the power supply may inform the police control room and contact control room, Sector 17, at 2703242, 2700200; control room, Sector 9, at 2742370, 2743940; citizen facilitation centre at 4639999 and SMS complaints on 8054104518.



A clarification

Chandigarh, September 6
In a clarification to a report — “Health, MC official seize unhygienic food for unhygienic storage and preparation of food items” — on page 3 of August 24, Himani Hotel and Vertigo Lounge authorities have denied UT administration’s claim of issuing challan. The hotel authorities stated that though the officials visited the hotel premises on August 23, no challan was issued as everything was found in order. — TNS


eRevolution to draft vision plan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The city will play host to the sixth edition of the annual mega IT event, eRevolution 2010, from September 29 to September 30.

The two-day conference is being hosted jointly by the Chandigarh Administration and Punjab government, along with Software Technology Park of India, Mohali, to formulate a five-year agenda to ensure speedy socio-economic development and deliver citizen-centric and government to business services efficiently and effectively.

As a part of the joint endeavour to transform this region into a knowledge hub, the next big step for all stakeholders is to deploy ICT in every sector, whether it is education, governance, health or services, said Rakesh Verma, managing director, Punjab Infotech.

The knowledge partners for eRevolution, NASSCOM and the Chandigarh-Punjab chapter of TiE, have lined up successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders to lead the discussions to make not only the private enterprises but also the governments “future ready”.

Som Mittal, president, NASSCOM, would be leading the discussions on the five-year vision plan for Chandigarh and Punjab.

Sandeep Hans, director IT, UT Administration, said the region had emerged as the knowledge hub of north India and the government was responsive to assimilate new ideas, draft a vision plan for next five years, encourage entrepreneurship and popularise ICT for inclusive growth.



Filling of Chief Engineer’s post
UT seeks panel of officials from Punjab
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
With the exit of Surinder Pall, UT Chief Engineer, the post has fallen vacant. To fill the post, the UT Administration sought a panel of officials from Punjab in a letter sent to the state government today.

However, official sources claim that S K Jaitley, who is the Superintending Engineer (SE), is already performing all duties of the Chief Engineer and is acting as the de facto Chief Engineer.

Sources claim that his file has already been sent to the Governor house for approval, but a confirmation has not been received yet.

A senior official said a panel from Punjab had been sought, as SK Jaitley would get a regular promotion as the Chief Engineer for which his case would be sent to the UPSC for sanction.

This being a long-drawn process, for the time being, names have been invited from Punjab.

It must be mentioned that SK Jaitley has also held the post of Chief Engineer with additional charge in 2008.

Later Jaitley was out of action for a few months after a fall, resulting in fracture in his leg.

Finally, files of SK Jaitley and Krishanjit were sent to the UPSC for promotion. Even though Krishanjit Singh was junior to SK Jatley, he rose to the post of Chief Engineer before retiring from service.

Recently, UT’s Chief Engineer, Surinder Pall, was repatriated to his parent state as the director, commercial, of the newly formed Powercom (Punjab State Electricity Corporation).

With his exit, the race for the new Chief Engineer had begun with the names of S K Jaitley, presently Superintending Engineer (SE) with the UT Engineering Department and SK Jain, regular chief engineer of the CHB, who is presently on deputation with the Delhi government and SS Bidda, Chief Engineer, MCC, doing the rounds as probable Chief Engineer.



Health dept gears up to check vector-borne diseases
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
In view of the detection of fresh suspected dengue cases in the city, the health department here today has geared up to check the vector-borne diseases in the city.

The authorities have also charted a 25-day advance fogging programme in the city and its surrounding areas to control the vector-borne diseases. Fogging was also done in Sector 10 from where two cases of suspected dengue cases were reported yesterday.

Civil Surgeon, Dr VK Bansal, said a team of health officials was sent to Sector 10 to check the details of one of the patients, Meenu Gupta, who had been discharged from a private hospital yesterday evening. He said there was no need to panic, as it was curable if the patient was immediately provided treatment. He said a patient was considered serious when 50,000 numbers of platelets were reported in his blood samples and the patient was deemed to be critical when the number of platelets came down 
to 20,000.

It is worth mentioning here that after the detection of a swine flu case from Sector 4 recently, the district administration had issued an advisory to all hospitals, dispensaries and educational institutes in the district to immediately report to the district health authorities if a patient is suffering from high grade fever and chest congestion.

Dr Bansal said in case of high fever, the patients should take paracetamol tablets and should avoid taking painkillers. He further advised that the patients should take medicine only on the advice of doctors. He said in case of high fever, the patients should immediately report to the nearest health centres in the area where blood-testing facilities were available.

He said people should maintain proper hygiene around their houses and should thoroughly scrub water coolers, as mosquito eggs remain live for about one month.

The Civil Surgeon said Burj Kotian, a slum near Surajpur, had been on the radar of the health authorities here, as more than 10 per cent annual parasite incidence (API) had been reported from the area during the past  few years.

He said surveillances had been conducted by health officials in the area, besides spraying deltamethalin to check the spread of vector-borne diseases.



Shivalik Vikas Manch protests against unemployment
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
Due to the indifferent attitude of the state government in providing jobs to youths, members of the Shivalik Vikas Manch held a dharna outside the office of the Haryana Sate Staff Selection Commission here today.

They raised slogans against the state government for having failed to provide jobs to youths of Shivalik areas, including Kalka, Pinjore, Morni, Barwala and Raipur Rani.

Vijay Bansal, patron Shivalik Vikas Manch, said more than 60,000 youths were given jobs in the state, but youths in Panchkula, Ambala and Yamunanagar have been totally ignored.

He said the state government has also failed to set up institutions of higher learning in these districts, while 12 such institutions were set up in the state and added that five institutions had been set up in Rohtak district.

Bansal further alleged that Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was giving step-mother treatment to three districts as no development schemes had been announced for these areas.

He claimed that recently the state government had announced the opening of about 36 model schools in the state, but not even a single model school was proposed for the three districts.

He warned the government that they would be forced to gherao the state assembly if their demands were not met.

He rued that whatever schemes or projects were formulated for the region had been shifted to the Rohtak area, the hometown of the CM.



Hoax caller still at large
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 6
The mystery behind yesterday’s hoax bomb call received at the Mohali Police Control Room (PCR) seems to be getting murkier with the caller playing hide and seek game with the police.

Almost 24 hours after the caller threatened to blow up Balongi, Bad Majra and Mohali, the police is on a look out for a person hailing from Orissa. It is learnt that the hoax caller has been living near Balongi.

After the call was received at the PCR at around 4.30 pm, the police tracked down the call to Vinod Kumar, a Mauli Jagran resident. But he told the police that the connection of the phone had been taken in the name of Girdhari Lal. But some one, apparently the hoax caller stole the mobile set from Vinod while he was 
sleeping at the Government Multi Specialty Hospital (GMCS), Sector 16.

Sources said the police had quizzed more than four persons whom the hoax caller had made a call to. Some of those who received the call said they did not know the caller as some one had got mobile connections issued on the basis of a fake identity proof. The tower location of the caller was showing that he had been moving in Sector 15,  Sector 37, Balongi and Bad Majra villages.

Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar said the caller appeared to be a drunkard. “We will soon round him up”, he said.



Nomination to Territorial Cong Committee
High command’s high-handedness?
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
For Congress, the oldest party in the Indian politics, democracy flows from the top. Even as senior functionaries of the party boast of grass roots democracy, the recent nomination of 25 members to the Territorial Congress Committee (TCC) of the local Congress unit speaks volumes about the stranglehold of the party high command on Congress units.

Putting cart before the horse, the party high command nominated the members even as elections at the ward level are yet to take place. According to party constitution, elections to 25 wards have to be held before the elections to TCC members.

In fact, now a peculiar situation has emerged as ward presidents are yet to be elected, while TCC members have already been nominated.

The nomination of TCC members, allegedly at the whims and fancies of top functionaries of the local Congress and the high command, has unleashed a wave of allegations at the selections.

While certain wards are “over-represented”, some wards have failed to find a representation in the newly-constituted TCC.

A senior leader said the “unfair selections” boded ill for the Congress in the run-up to the municipal corporation elections due next year.

By nominating at least one-third new members to the TCC, the high command has tried to project a “new-look” team before the electorate in a bid to retain power.

The new TCC members usually hold keys positions in the party like general secretary, vice-president and treasurer.

New president

The party high command will call the shots even in the election of the CTCC president slated for September 17. The newly-elected TCC members are likely to pass a resolution expressing faith in the party high command for selection of the party president. This will make the nominations for top post a farce.



Murder of 3 sisters in Jind
136 protesters seeking CBI probe held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The police arrested over 130 agitating members of the Haryana Brahmin Sangarsh Samiti after they tried to breach the barricades at the rally ground in Sector 25 to proceed toward the Haryana Assembly, here today.

The protesters joined by members of the Bhagwan Parshuram Brahmin Kalayan Sangh, Panchkula, were demanding a CBI probe into the murder case of three Brahmin sisters in May at Jind.

The victims, 29-year-old Mukesh, her 16-year-old sister Seema and 10-year-old sister Tanu, were found murdered at their residence in Kokhri village in Jind district on May 9 this year.

Agitated over police inaction into the incident, people of the area had blocked roads to lodge their protest.

Earlier in the day, the agitators gave a memorandum to the officer on special duty of the Haryana Governor. However, more members of the samiti reached the scene and insisted on marching toward the Assembly.

At this, the police arrested samiti co-coordinator Rajesh Sharma along with 135 others while taking preventive measures under Section 107 and 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The agitating members were released on bail later in the day.



Now, CCTV surveillance at grain market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Market Committee today decided to install CCTV surveillance system in the grain market, Sector 26, for better vigil at a cost of Rs 23 lakh.

This was decided at a meeting of the committee held under the chairmanship of Darshan Singh and attended by members Subhash Chander, Devinder Singh Babla, Des Raj Gupta, Ramvir Bhatti, Jujhar Singh Badheri, Devinder Kumar Lubana.

Also on the complaint of KK Verma against M/s Sood Bros in the grain market, the committee decided to stop the receipt of licence fee of vegetable shed from the firm.

The committee unanimously decided to send a report to the secretary, State Agricultural Marketing Board, for shifting of the mandi to Sector 39 as the parking space in the mandi was insufficient and farmers/traders were facing difficulties.

Babla, while raising the issue of shifting of the mandi to Sector 39, demanded that the Chandigarh administration should first allot shops to all 165 licencees at a reasonable price. He added that the area of the Sector-39 mandi should be properly developed before the shifting.



Tribune Impact
‘Stop throwing garbage along Sukhna Choe’
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, September 6
The drainage department has asked the Zirakpur municipal council to stop throwing garbage and other waste material along Sukhna Choe in Bishanpura village.

The action has come after Chandigarh Tribune highlighted in these columns “Sukhna Choe or garbage dump” on September 4.

According to an official of the drainage department, the department had written a letter to executive officer, municipal council, mentioning that the department had found that the council was disposing garbage and other waste material along the choe.

It mingles with the choe water and enters Ghaggar, resulting in water pollution.

The official stated that the department had asked the council to stop throwing garbage. The department will also write to the DC, Mohali, regarding this issue, the official added.

It is learnt that in Zirakpur, there is no dumping ground and the council was disposing the garbage and other waste material along the choe.

A municipal council official said he had requested the Punjab Pollution Control Board to give them permission to set up a proper dumping ground near Gazipur Jatta in Zirakpur.



Meeting to review preparations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Chandigarh Administration and North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) are all set to begin the preparations for holding the 2nd Chandigarh National Crafts Mela to be held at Kalagram.

The review meeting at the site was held by Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, today. The director NZCC, Deputy Commissioner, director cultural affairs, director tourism, chief architect, SSP security and other senior officers of the Chandigarh Administration were also present at the meeting. The 10-day festival is scheduled to be held from October 26 to November 4.

Northeast India will be the theme of the mela this year. The NZCC is creating a whole new village, which will have the features of eight states -- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

Designed on the pattern of Surajkund Mela, the Chandigarh Crafts Mela is expecting a footfall of about 10 lakh domestic as well as international tourists this year.

More than 200 artisans, national and state awardees in their respective fields and over 300 folk dancers from across the country will participate in the mela.

According to Ram Niwas, “This year, the mela will witness artisans from all over India with nationally acclaimed reputation. Artists, painters, weavers, sculptors and craftsmen specialising in any form of art are participating to exhibit their talent in front of a large audience.”

NZCC director DS Saroya assured that the best folk artistes representing all cultural regions would showcase their art forms during the mela.



Tabla maestro casts a spell on audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, September 6
World renowned tabla maestro Ustad Tari Khan of Punjab gharana mesmerised the audience in a brief but brilliant performance at the Tagore Theatre here today in a musical programme organised by the Amar Sangeet Kender, Birmingham, UK. Ustad Tari Khan commenced the tabla recital with his popular entertaining item in tal kehrava by delineating the playing styles of this four beat rhythmic pattern in Punjab, Europe, Middle East and Africa before presenting a crisp and electrifying roopak tal.

Accompanied by Guru Sushil Jain, he delighted the audience with nimble fingers work and adroit mastery over lya and tal. Earlier Ustad Tari Khan, known as the tabla wizard, surprised many, as he attempted to emulate ghazal king, Mehdi Hasan, with a stray brilliance by singing ghazals immortalised by the legend.

Be it “Kuu baku fayal gyi”, “Zindagi meoin toh sabhi pyar kiyya karte hain”, “Gulon mein rang bhare” or “Apni kahani yaaro”, he delved deep into khairaj and higher octaves with ease.

The programme got a melodious start as Birmingham-based Prabjyot Kaur , a foremost disciple of Ustad Tari Khan from Pakistan presented six Punjabi songs.

A film depicting memorable moments of Ustad with all legendary artistes was screened, in which the reference of his long-time associate Ustad Ghulam Ali was conspicuously missing.

The audience also felt sore, as the legendry Ustad restricted his tabla recital to less than half an hour., for which the audience had thronged the venue.

Prof Amar Singh from Birmingham welcomed chief guest Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, who inaugurated the programme.

IAS MP Singh, DS Saroya director NZCC, and Sufi singer Dolly Guleria were also present on the occasion.



UT education award nominees raise eyebows
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Questions are being raised on the UT education department’s decision to confer a “lifetime achievement” award on district education officer Chanchal Singh and registrar Arjun Dev.

According to a section of the teaching fraternity, though the two are efficient employees they have no exceptional achievement to their credit so far to make them worthy of this award, which has till now been conferred on retirees. According to some teachers and principals the award appears to have lost its relevance and has now become a tool to “gratify” officials.

“Till date it was only those who had retired after 30 to 40 years of service who received this award, so these selections seem a little out of place. Though Chanchal is still teaching Dev has failed to make any mark in the field. The department’s decision to oversee teachers who have been teaching and delivering results since the past 30 years is painful,” averred the principal of a government school in the city.

“We did speak to department officials about the matter but they said those selected for the award this time (Chanchal and Dev) were efficient and had a blotless career,” he added.

“Does the DPI(S) feel that except for the duo all others are dishonest or nonperformers? He should visit schools where he will find teachers who have given so much to education but have been ignored till date. The awards are meant for teachers and should be given to them,” said another teacher.

DPI defends selection

“I’ve recommended both names for the award in recognition of their so far blotless and efficient conduct. It’s principals themselves who continuously praise them for their work and decisions. Why should they have a problem? They have been awarded for managing the department in the best way possible” said DPI(S) PK Sharma



Surprise check on schools’ infrastructure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
DPI (S) PK Sharma today inspected government schools in Kaimbwala and Karsan.

The inspection was meant to conduct a surprise check on the existing school infrastructure and  conduct of staff.

According to the DPI, though staff and principal’s conduct was quite satisfactory, the schools are in the dire need of infrastructure upliftment.

“I observed wastage of grounds and poor condition of laboratories. I have spoken to school heads about basic steps, but a lot more needs to be done. I am worried about conditions of laboratories, which directly effect the practical aspect of studies,” said Sharma.

The DPI plans to start the surprise checks on daily basis to have a feedback on the current condition of the schools.



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