L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


10-yr-old abducted, bludgeoned to death
n Victim student of Class IV n Strangulated before being hit n Two suspects picked up for questioning
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
In a frightening incident, a 10-year-old boy was bludgeoned to death after being abducted from outside his house located in New Ashok Nagar near Salem Tabri yesterday evening.

Residents of Jassia village became panicky after spotting the victim’s body near a vacant plot today afternoon and informed the police about the incident.

A resident consoles the victim’s mother, Manju Devi, in Ludhiana on Friday.
A resident consoles the victim’s mother, Manju Devi, in Ludhiana on Friday. Photos: Inderjeet Verma 

The victim identified as Shubham, a student of Class IV, was reportedly abducted at around 5 pm last evening.

Station House Officer (SHO), Gurdev Singh, said the killer had repeatedly hit the victim with two boulders for smashing his head. “We suspect that the victim might have been strangulated before being hit with boulders. The matter is being probed and the accused would soon be nabbed,” the SHO added.

Personal enmity is stated to be the reason behind the boy’s killing. The boulders used for killing him has also been recovered.

Anil Kumar, father of the victim, who is working as a supervisor in a cloth-manufacturing unit, said his son returned home after attending a tuition class and was reportedly playing with one of his friends Iqbal. Iqbal, who claims to have seen the accused, told the police that a youth, who was wearing a yellow shirt and a blue trouser, took Shubham on the pretext of buying sweets. When Anil and his wife Manju returned home from work they were shocked to find the child missing.

The family did not report the matter to the police and kept on searching for their only child. The police contacted the parents in the morning and informed them about the tragedy. Anil and a few residents reached the spot and identified the body. Anil told the police that he had recently entered into an argument with a youth who lived near his quarter.

The police has picked up two suspects for questioning on a complaint lodged by the victim’s father.

family Devastated

Parents Anil Kumar and Manju Devi were shocked beyond belief. The couple was devastated that their only child has been mercilessly killed. “Both of us decided not to have a second child so that we could provide better education to Shubham. We were working hard to secure a better future for him. There is nothing left for us here,” said Anil Kumar, the father. Manju Devi has not spoken to anyone ever since she learnt of the tragedy. She broke down on seeing her child’s body at the civil hospital’s mortuary. Iqbal, one of Shubham’s friends, said he was a brilliant student. I tried to stop him from leaving the house in the evening with a stranger. But he went away with the person with a promise to return soon as he knew the man.


Murder accused escapes, arrested
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
Escape of a murder accused from police custody while being taken inside the District Court Complex proved to be short-lived as he was arrested in Daba today. The incident took place this afternoon when the accused identified as Manna, a resident of Shimlapuri, who undergoing jail term for killing his brother, was produced before the court.

The accused fled while he was being taken inside the court. The cops tried to catch him, but the accused managed to escape.

Station House Officer (SHO) Sandeep Wadhera reached the spot and launched a manhunt to nab the accused.

Police was put on high alert and a trap was laid near the house of the accused. Manna was arrested while he was trying to enter his house. 



Silicosis takes toll on bicycle factory workers
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
Due to negligence on the part of the state industry and labour departments in conducting checks on factories making bicycles and parts a large number of workers there are falling prey to acute silicosis, an occupational lung disease that is caused by inhaling silica dust and, if not treated, can lead to tuberculosis.

A combined study carried out by Dr Jagdeep Whig, head of pulmonary medicine at the city’s Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, and Prof Daniel E Banks, head of internal medicine at Louisiana State University, United States in small bicycle part factories in Ludhiana, reveals over one-quarter of the 300 workers in buffing units had developed acute respiratory problems.

Bank was at the hospital on Friday to deliver lectures on ‘Evidence based medicine’ and “Occupational & environmental kung disorders’. Speaking to The Tribune, he said he had been a regular visitor to the city and had reviewed working conditions in small industrial units here on several occasions.

“Most of the small units making bicycle components have failed to take steps to protect their workers from respiratory ailments. Many of these workers are engaged in polishing and buffing and mineral dust gets trapped in their lungs, resulting in acute silicosis. Protective masks, gloves, exhaust fans followed by regular health checkups of industrial workers can ward off silicosis and other lung disorders,” said Banks.

Noting many workers afflicted by silicosis had not been properly diagnosed, Whig said: “It’s shocking patients suffering from acute silicosis have been repeatedly treated for TB. Some patients were even administered TB medicines thrice, which is dangerous”.

Banks said the term ‘occupational lung diseases’ implies exposure to harmful particles, chemicals, vapours or gases while at work and which could lead to a variety of health problems. Different types of particles produce different reactions in the body including allergies, lung irritation, cancer and apoptosis, which means the death of cells located throughout airways, he stated.

“Asbestosis is another disease that is on the rise and is caused by exposure to asbestos particles, which are routinely found among people who worked in factories, shipyards, mines and those who work as stonecutters and sandblasters”, Banks observed.

Industry also to blame

Workers employed in factories making bicycle parts refused to wear gloves and masks because they felt these were "inconvenient". There is negligence on the part of small industrial units. No lectures to make workers aware of occupational hazards or medical camps, in accordance with the Labour Ministry guidelines, are organised in these factories. However, we are setting up a cluster of bicycle parts manufacturers wherein awareness campaigns and assistance programmes for the workers will be undertaken. ’

— Jagatvir Singh, president, Ludhiana Bicycle & Engineering Park



‘Strict enforcement of industrial safety norms must’
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, March 11
The Punjab chapter of the Indian Society of Agricultural Engineers (ISAE) organized a seminar on ‘Occupational health, safety & environment legislation in Ontario, Canada’ today at the College of Agricultural Engineering & Technology, Punjab Agricultural University. 50 students and faculty members of the varsity attended the meet.

Delivering a lecture, Dr Tarlochan Singh Waraich, occupational health & safety inspector, industrial health & safety programme of the Windsor district office, Ontario labour ministry, elaborated on the implementation of safety laws and their implementation in public administration in Canada. “With proper enforcement of these provisions the number of accidents in industrial workplaces has declined”, he said. Waraich averred safety norms should be strictly enforced in India to reduce the number of accidents and underlined the need for a better environment at the workplace. PPS Lubana, dean of the College of Agricultural Engineering & Technology and patron of ISAE’s Punjab chapter, who presided over the seminar, dwelt on the work environment and safety aspects. He appreciated the efforts of Dr CJS Pannu, the chapter’s chairman and coordinator of research (engineering) and NK Chhuneja, secretary of the chapter, in organizing the seminar.



Mobile phones worth Rs 70,000 stolen from shop
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
Thieves struck at a mobile store located in Chhauni Mohalla today and decamped with cash and mobiles worth Rs 70,000. Manpeet Singh, owner of AK Telecom, said his neighbours informed him about the theft this morning, following which he informed the police about the incident.

Manpreet said the thieves might have broken the shutter at midnight. “I was shocked to find the shop ransacked. The thieves fled with 12 mobile phones, seven demo mobiles, recharge coupons worth ` 35,000 and ` 7,000 cash,” claimed Manpreet.

The division number 4 police has registered a case in this regard.



LIT passes Rs 102-cr budget

Ludhiana, March 11
Civic authorities unanimously passed Rs 102 crore budget of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) today.

The budget meeting was presided over by its chairman MM Vyaas. Out of it, Rs 8 crore would be spent on salaries of LIT employees. Similarly LIT would spent Rs 4 crore on developmental works whereas ` 7.5 crore would be given to the civic body as its share for constructing theLakkar Bridge Railway Over Bridge. — TNS



Pending Demands
Punjab Roadways employees vent ire
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 11
Voicing anger over the non-implementation of their long-pending demands, employees of the Punjab Roadways today held a gate rally.

A large number of Punjab Roadways employees took part in the rally organised by the action committee of Punjab Government Transport Workers Union.

Speakers criticised the state government and transport department for turning a blind eye towards their plight. State president Gurdeep Singh Moti said members of the union met Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in October 2009 and submitted a memorandum to him.

The Chief Minister had assured the members that the state government would solve their problems, but nothing had been done so far, said Moti.

The members demanded that senior employees should be promoted as per rules, medical allowance should be raised and part-time employees should be regularised.

Jagraon branch president Amrik Singh Mika said the government had failed to fulfil their demands.

He said the union members would hold protests on March 17 and April 7.



Swabhiman Yatra
Hoisting of Flag proves costly for SAD man
Claims to be getting threat calls from Kashmir
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
Hoisting of the National Flag at Pari Mahal in Srinagar on Republic Day (January 26) during the BJP’s Swabhiman Yatra proved costly for a city-based leader as he claims to have been receiving threatening phone calls from Kashmir.

Deepak Sharma, general secretary of the national unit of the SAD’s youth wing, said today that he had been receiving threatening phone calls from Kashmir for daring to hoists the National Flag at Pari Mahal.

“Earlier, I took the matter lightly. But I have been frequently receiving such phone calls in the past a few days. I have lodged a complaint with the police in this regard,” said Deepak, who runs a hosiery business from Hindi Bazaar.

No action has been taken against the anonymous caller for the past 15 days, he alleged. “I am doing business in Kashmir and have invested a lot of money in the region. My family is scared and is not allowing me to travel to valley for collecting payments. I fear, I might suffer huge loss,” Deepak added.

“ I am being made to pay a heavy price for being a patriot. Majority of phone calls were being made from Kashmir,” he added.

He fears that a few terrorist outfits might try to eliminate him. He urged the government to provide him with security.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Yurinder Singh, said: “No such matter has been brought to my notice. If Deepak has received any kind of threat, we would take action against those behind it.”



MC seals building, demolishes 3 shops
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
Officials of the Municipal Corporation’s building branch sealed a commercial building in a residential area and demolished three under construction shops for violating building bylaws.

A team of building branch officials had sealed an operational portion of the commercial building at a residential locality in Krishna Nagar today morning. The municipal staff sealed this building a few days ago when residents had lodged complaint regarding with the Municipal Commissioner. One part of the building was not sealed as the person running the shop had sought time from the civic body. Today, the MC staff sealed the building without any resistance.

A team of Municipal staff led by Assistant town Planner SS Bindra razed three under-construction shops from near the cremation ground at Model Town Extension B block. 



No action yet on shamlat land
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 11
With the departments of revenue and rural development doing little about the grabbing of over 21 acres of panchayat land (shamlat), including a three-acre area of a pond, worth over Rs 200 crore at Jhammat village on the periphery of the city, residents of the village staged a dharna at the office of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) here yesterday.

The residents said they had submitted several representations to higher officials to look into the matter, but no action had been taken yet.

Gurpal Singh, a member of the panchayat, alleged that over the past few years, a few influential villagers had sold 18.5 acres after grabbing it even though litigation was on.

The act of usurping the panchayat land did not stop at that. “Recently, a few others filled up almost the entire three acres of the pond area and put up structures to gain permanent possession while the panchayat failed to take any action,” the residents claimed.

“A number of inquiries were initiated by the department of rural development and panchayats at the local and directorate levels, but every time the guilty, enjoying political patronage, managed to scuttle the process,” they claimed.

Navneet Joshi, Block Development and Panchayat Officer, told The Tribune that the issue of encroachment on shamlat land was under litigation and it was for the court to decide. “An inquiry regarding certain financial irregularities of the panchayat is pending with me, which will be decided within a week,” he added.



Excise raids at forging units

Ludhiana, March 11
Officials of the Excise and Taxation Department, under the supervision of Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Rishipal Singh, have been raiding local units since yesterday. 

The team led by Excise and Taxation officers, ML Sharma and Davinder Kumar, began raiding industrial units yesterday evening. Swati Forgings located at Industrial Focal Point and two of its sister concerns were also raided by the team. 

“We have gone through their accounts and balance sheets. Only after a thorough study of the records we can comment on the outcome of the raids,” the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner added. 



MC employees block traffic, burn CM’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 11
Indefinite strike called by the Municipal Employees Action Committee in support of their long-pending demands entered the fifthday today with employees of the local Municipal Council burning an effigy of Chief

Minister Parkash Singh Badal near the Rani Jhansi Chowk. The protesting employees blocked the Raikot road for more than 30 minutes due to which long lines of vehicles could be seen at a railway overbridge.

Earlier, the municipal employees staged a protest in the city and raised slogans against the SAD-BJP government. A large number of women activists also took part in the protest march.

The protestors also sat on a dharna in front of the Municipal Council’s office. They were demanding regularisation of all those working as sweepers and cleaners in the council.

President of the Jagron block of the committee Sham Lal said the state government had failed to resolve their issues so far. 



District Bar Assn Poll
Warnings issued to contestants
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, March 11
In the run up to the District Bar Association annual elections (scheduled for April 1, 2011), warnings have been issued to contestants. According to guidelines of the Returning Officers, candidates will not be allowed to paste posters or indulge in character assassination and vilification. In case of failure, their candidature may be cancelled.

Returning Officers Darshan Singh Sandhu and Varinder Khara said filing of nomination papers would begin from March 15 to March 21.

Scrutiny of nomination papers will be done on March 22. Any candidate may withdraw his candidature till 4 pm on March 23. Polling will be held from 9 am to 4 pm on April 1. The results would be declared on the same day.

Returning Officers held a meeting with Assistant Returning Officers Vijay Sharma, Ramesh Lakhanpal, Ashok Sharma, BS Aujla and decided that no candidate or his supporter would be allowed to hold parties at the district courts complex. However, candidates may use a banner of 6'x6'.



Punjab Budget
MC has its hands tied
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
The forthcoming state Budget carries a lot of importance for the city as development often gets stalled here due to lack of proper monetary resources. The commercial hub of the state has witnessed rapid urbanisation, due to which the load on the municipal corporation (MC) has increased.

Due to limited resources, the MC has never able to come up to expectations, be it roads, water supply, sewerage or streetlights. The reason: the MC does not have the finances to meet expenditure.

A major source of income, octroi had been abolished due to political reasons. Octroi alone brought an income of more than Rs 100 crore to the civic body.

Concessions on water and sewage charges and house tax due to political reasons are another major minus.

Pilferage in revenue collection and interference of political bosses in branches like advertisement, house tax and building dampen the prospects of the MC earning.

In the same manner, the MC does not have a proper system of monitoring projects, due to which a huge amount is wasted on incomplete projects.

The Pakhowal indoor stadium and the covering of the Budha nullah from Gurddwara Dukh Niwaran to Shingar cinema are such examples.

The result is that ultimately, residents have to suffer. Around 70 per cent of the population has sewerage and water supply facilities.

The MC depends either on the state government or loans for carrying out development works. It has never received proper cooperation of the state government.

An amount of Rs 40 crore was given by the state government when the Chief Minister conducted a ‘sangat darshan’ programme before the Lok Sabha poll.

At that time, it was claimed that it was a grant from the state government, but it turned out to be a loan, for which the MC had to pledge prime property.

The state government should have a one-time grant provision in the state Budget so that development in the city can be brought back on track.

As the state government has plenty of resources to generate revenue, it should focus on giving money to the MC without burdening it.

The state government should deploy agencies for proper monitoring. Leaders of the SAD-BJP alliance from the city should raise the issue of support from the state.



Not a penny to de-silt Budha nullah
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, March 11
It is scourging the city, but the state government has failed to take any preventive measures. Despite budgetary allocation, the municipal corporation (MC) did not get even a single penny for the de-silting of the Budha nullah.

The Budha nullah, once a clean stream, has now turned into a drain containing a thick black contaminated sludge. Not only are residents being forced to drink contaminated water, but even the flora and fauna are being affected.

Similarly, the nullah is causing a lot of environmental pollution in the city, but much to the dismay of the general public, efforts to stop pollution in the nullah have been confined to paper.

About a year back, the state government had kept a budgetary provision for cleaning up the nullah, but the MC, responsible for carrying out the de-silting every year, claimed that it had not received any money for the purpose, either from the state government or the Centre.

Information obtained by RTI activist Rohit Sabharwal revealed that a lot needed to be done to rid the city of this scourge. Preventive measures need to be taken to contain the spread of diseases and the nullah should be cleaned up in a proper manner.

A proposal for pouring clean water into this nullah should be finalised and implemented soon. Likewise, a special budget must be earmarked for de-silting of the nullah and its maintenance. A special scheme should also be launched to promote tourism.



MC short of staff, low on performance
Manvinder Singh/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
The area requiring the immediate attention of the state in the forthcoming Budget is overcoming the huge staff crunch in the municipal corporation (MC), which is resulting in its poor performance.

On one hand, talks of introducing the Right to Service Bill are making the rounds, and on the other, the MC is working with 40 per cent of its sanctioned staff, which has been reducing its effectiveness.

Facing shortage of funds, it has never bothered to recruit staff. Owing to shortage of technical staff, the MC has not been able to keep a proper check on the ongoing development works.

It has also failed to check the haphazard construction of illegal buildings in the city, which has affected its image.

According to data, of the 6,900 sanctioned non-provincial cadre posts of the civic body, recruited by the MC at the local level, only 5,415 have been filled. The 1,485 posts lying vacant include sanitary workers, gardeners and other Class IV employees.

Of the 421 provincialised cadre posts, recruited by the state government, only 205 have been filled. Of the 149 sanctioned posts of inspector, 123 are lying vacant.

Of the 78 sanctioned posts of junior engineer in various branches, 54 are lying vacant. The fire-fighting branch is also facing an acute staff crunch.



Balance sheet, a balancing act
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, March 11
Though the municipal corporation (MC) has a key role in managing civic problems of the city, it has to struggle to maintain its balance sheet in the absence of funds.

The abolition of octroi, a major source of income to the civic body, has given a major blow to the MC. Though the state gives a share of its income from VAT to the civic body, MC data reveals that this share is much less. Every year, the MC falls short of funds.

In 2007-08, the MC expected Rs 163 crore from the income from VAT, but received Rs 139 crore. In 2008-09, it expected Rs 179 crore, but received Rs 159 crore. In 2009-10, it expected Rs 197 crore, but received Rs 170 crore. In the current financial year, it was expecting Rs 217 crore, but had received Rs 199 crore so far.

At every General House meeting of the MC, councillors make repeated appeals to the authorities to ask the state government for its full share.

The concessions given by politicians in payment of house tax and water and sewerage charges cause another major dent in the income of the civic body. Contractors are sometimes not paid.



Clean city? No way
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, March 11
The worst sufferer due to paucity of funds with the municipal corporation (MC) is cleanliness in city, due to which, neither proper mechanisation, nor recruitment is taking place. For the past many years, the the MC’s mechanisation programme has been hanging fire. As a result, the MC does not have proper facilities for de-silting sewerage, lifting garbage and cleaning roads.

Garbage lies scattered on roads, leading to problems concerning hygiene. Though the MC has been trying to update machinery for lifting garbage, it is mostly not done in a proper manner but due to shortage of funds.

The worst sufferers are inner areas of the city, where acute shortage of vehicles with the civic body results in poor lifting of garbage.

The MC has not been able regularise more then 3,000 sanitary workers, who have been often lodging their protest. The MC does not have the required number of machines for de-silting of sewerage, though the city has a 160-km mainline and 850-km branchline maze.

The MC has not been able toe ensure the safety of the 900-odd sewerage men who risk life by going deep inside manholes. There are only 12 safety kits for them with the civic body. Residents face problems due to lack of de-silting and inadequate measures to tackle the garbage menace.



Waiting for big event, fingers crossed

Residents are high on speculation as they wait for the state Budget for the next financial year, scheduled to be presented on March 14 by Finance Minister Uperderjit Kaur. Squeezed between hope and despair, they are expecting a good fiscal allocation for the municipal corporation to improve the overall infrastructure. Good-quality roads, adequate sewerage and potable water supply are areas that need to be focused upon. Tribune staffer Manvinder Singh talks to senior functionaries and public representatives on the wish-list for the Budget.



PAU Notes
Kisan mela

Ludhiana: Kisan mela was organised by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) at its Regional Research Station for Kandi Area, Ballowal Saunkhri, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar. Chief Parliamentary Secretary Chaudhary Nand Lal was the chief guest, while Dr BS Ahluwalia and Mohammad Tayyab, IASSDM, Balachaur, were the guests of honour.

Chaudhary Nand Lal said over the years there has been a considerable change in farming. The university is doing a great job by developing need-based technologies. Kisan mela gives an opportunity to farmers to interact with the PAU scientists.

PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang said apart from maize and wheat, climatic conditions in the region permitted the growth of mango, galgal, citrus, guava, ber and amla.

Dr BS Ahluwalia, a former student of the university, and an acclaimed scientist from Vienna, Austria, said School of Biotechnology and School of Information Technology would help boost biotech research in the university.

Dr SS Gosal, director, research, PAU, highlighted achievements of the university.

“Our focus is on the development of need-based technologies that are eco-friendly and cost-effective,” said Dr Gosal.

Fourth kisan mela on March 14

Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) will hold its fourth kisan mela in Bathinda on March 14. Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, will grace the occasion as special guest, while Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, will preside over. — OC 



From Colleges
Juniors bid adieu to seniors

Ludhiana: A farewell party was organised by students of Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, for their seniors. Principal Dr Charanjit Mahal presided over the function. Students presented a cultural programme. A fashion show was also held. Poonam was adjudged Miss Farewell, while Kamalpreet and Preeti Bala were named first and second runners-up, respectively. Amanjeet Kaur and Priyanka Narang were crowned Miss Elegant and Miss Beautiful Smile, respectively.

Government College for Women

Students of Government College for Women bid adieu to their seniors. Students presented a cultural programme and a fashion show. Principal of the college Gurminder Kaur was accorded a warm welcome by Dr Mohinder Kaur Grewal, convener of the hostel committee. Navreet Kaur (BA III) was crowned Miss Farewell, while Harleen and Rajwinder were adjudged first and second runners-up, respectively. The title of Miss Simplicity went to Joban Sohi, while Ravneet Kaur was named Miss Crowing Glory.

Ramgharia Girls College

Students of Ramgharia Girls College, Miller Ganj, Ludhiana were given a farewell party on Friday. Students of BA-II presented a cultural programme. Students walked the ramp. Sakshi Jasuja was adjudged Miss Farewell, whereas Akvinder Kaur and Rita Kathuria were crowned first and second runners-up, respectively.


Students of International Institute of Fashion Designing participated in “Text Vision and Fashionova 2011”, a national-level contest, and their designs were sent for the first round of selection. The contest was jointly organised by the DKTE Society’s Textile and Engineering Institute and Textile Association. Eshaan Jain, Mona Sharma, Bhavya Jain and Analjeet Kaur were the students to make it to the first round. Eshaan Jain bagged the first prize in the competition. His collection “Confidently White” was highly appreciated by the jury. Eshaan said, “I am thrilled to win the first prize and that too at a national level.” — TNS






1 held with country-made pistol
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, March 11
The Ludhiana (rural) police has recovered a country-made pistol and five cartridges from a man following his arrest. The accused has been identified as Gaganjeet Singh, a resident of Ghuman village near Sudhar.

Station House Officer (SHO) Jagraon, Rachpal Singh Dhindsa, a police team arrested Gaganjeet Singh from Mallha village near Jagraon today morning. A case under the Arms Act has been registered against the accused. Gaganjeet Singh was also wanted in a criminal case. A local court declared him a proclaimed offender about six months ago.

Intoxicating drugs seized

Anti-narcotics cell of Jagraon seized 3,000 intoxicating tablets from a man identified as Jasvir Singh, a resident of Raikot. A case has been registered against Jasvir Singh under the NDPS Act and the accused arrested. 



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