L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Parks suffer as LIT defaults on payment
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 8
Most of the parks in four colonies of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) in the city are in a state of neglect as the Park Management Committees (PMCs) have not been paid maintenance charges for more than a year.

If a few parks are being maintained in some of the colonies in a reasonably good manner, it is only because the residents of those colonies are chipping in. However, the residents agree this situation cannot continue for a long time and these parks will also meet the same fate as others, which are in a pathetic condition due to the paucity of funds.

In a representation to the LIT authorities, the Residents Welfare Society of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (E Block) has complained no payment had been made to the PMCs since April 2013.

“Unavailability of funds for more than a year has affected the maintenance of the parks. Especially, the functionaries of the PMCs are at the receiving end. If they fail to properly maintain the parks, the residents blame them, and if they continue with the work, it takes a toll on their pockets too,” said Arvind Sharma, an office-bearer of the PMC of E Block, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar.

Satish Thaman, a member of the Ludhiana West Subdivision Grievances Redressal Committee and resident of Maharishi Valmiki Nagar, also has a similar complaint. He said most of the parks in the colony presented a dismal picture. The elderly persons and children, who come to relax in these parks, are a disappointed lot.

The LIT officials say the fault lies with the Municipal Corporation, which has been delaying payments to the PMCs. “Four residential schemes of the LIT have been transferred to the MC for maintenance. Funds have been placed at the disposal of the MC for urgent maintenance works in these colonies,” said an LIT official.

After for more than a year, the schemes have now again been transferred to the LIT by the state government, said an official of the Horticulture Branch of the Trust. He said the process for making payments to the PMCs for maintenance of some 200 parks in the LIT colonies had already been started and funds were likely to be released in the near future.


MCI elections: 50% docs await ballots
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
Nearly 50 per cent doctors across the state registered under the Medical Council of India (MCI) have complained they have not received ballot papers for casting vote. Ballot papers are sent to the doctors through registered post.

The elections to the member posts of the Medical Council of India (MCI) are under way and counting of votes will be held on April 11. One member from each state is elected while one is nominated.

"Nearly 50 per cent doctors registered under the MCI in the state have complained they have not received the ballot papers. How this will be a fair election if ballots do not reach the doctors," said Dr Manoj Sobti, state president of the Indian Medical Association.

Dr Parminder Singh Brar, who is seeking election as member from Punjab, alleged: “According to the rule, the ballots are to be sent through registered post but this time the ballots are being sent through ordinary post. I have filed a writ petition in the High Court in this regard. The court has summoned the MCI officials."

Dr Kulwinder Singh, a doctor who has not received his ballot till date, said the counting of votes was scheduled for April 11 and still I have not received my ballot. "The date for counting should be postponed so that everybody can cast his vote. In case ballots have not been posted yet, these should be posted by that time," he said.

A doctor from Samrala said: “The elections should be held in a fair manner otherwise there is no point in holding them,” he said.



Voter ID card issued in dead man’s name
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
Don't be surprised if a dead man casts vote in this Lok Sabha elections. The city police have booked four persons, who managed to procure a registry by showing a dead man alive and were in the process of usurping 700 sq yds located near Gill village. The property is worth crores of rupees.

During the investigation, the police were shocked to know the accused had managed to get a voter identification card prepared in the name of a man who had died 13 years ago.

The fraud came to light when Canada-based NRI Harman Kaur approached the NRI police station and told the staff that some persons had managed to get a fake registry in her father's name, who had died in 2000.

Soon after receiving the complaint, the NRI police launched an investigation. "The complainant, Harman Kaur, told us that her father Nohria Singh had died in 2000 while the registry of the land was done in 2013, 13 years after his death. We acted swiftly and prevented the accused from taking the possession of the land. What shocked us was the fact that the accused had managed to get the voter ID card of Nohria Singh made. In the card, an imposter is posing (with a picture) as Nohria Singh," the SHO of the NRI police station said.

Following the investigation, the police registered a case under section 419 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant), 420 (cheating) and slapped various sections of forgery against the accused, identified as Surinder Singh of Dashmesh Nagar, Hardeep Singh of Janta Nagar, Manjeet Singh, a Numberdar of Gill village, and the imposter featuring on the fake voter ID card.

The SHO said: "The accused are at large and we have no clue about how they were operating and who was backing them," said the SHO.

It was learnt the AIG of the NRI cell, Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, has instructed the police to investigate how the imposter managed to get the fake voter ID card prepared.

Previous incidents

On November 2, a police team, led by ADCP- IV Swapan Sharma, had busted a gang involved in preparing fake registries to usurp properties of city residents and NRIs. The gang also helped people in taking multiple loans on the same property. A special investigation team was also formed to identify 150 fake registries that the gang members had confessed to have prepared.

It was in December 2012 that the vigilance sleuth had booked three persons for allegedly grabbing 1,333 square yards of land belonging to film actor Dharmendra.



Staff on election duty, Municipal Corporation working affected
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
Routine working of the civic body has taken a hit as more than 85 per cent of the Municipal Corporation staff has been put on election duties. Officials said the work would continue to suffer till the Lok Sabha elections were over. A majority of the employees, who have been put on election duties, are hardly found in their respective offices these days.

Dr Sumit Jarangal and Devinder Singh, both Additional Commissioners, have been appointed assistant returning officers, who will take care of both the MC functioning and the elections simultaneously. Around 800 employees from the Municipal Corporation, including Executive Engineers, Sub-Divisional Engineers, Superintendents and Inspectors, have been put on Lok Sabha election duties.

One of the Zonal Commissioners said MC work was suffering in the absence of staff. "In the absence of engineers and other staff, we are not able to do justice to work these days. Besides, the public is also suffering as most of the staff is busy with elections. I had to get the development projects inspected by engineers and have been asking them to spare some time to accompany me to the sites. But both the SDO and the XEN of my zone are performing election duties and come back home late. Their presence is required during such inspections as they are the technical persons," said the Zonal Commissioner of the civic body.

Thousands of government employees have been put on election duties in Punjab. With the polling scheduled for April 30 in the state, employees from more than 130 government and semi-government offices, including banks and insurance companies, have been assigned poll duties.

Dr Sumit Jarangal, Additional Commissioner, MC, admitted most of the staff had been put on election duties. He, however, said efforts were made to make sure routine work of the MC did not suffer. "Performing election duties is also part of our job. But, we are trying to manage everything in the best possible manner by sparing time for both the MC and the elections," said Dr Jarangal.

Many officials of the District Administration, Municipal Corporation and Police Department continued with their meetings even today, which was a public holiday on account of Ram Navami.



Minor rams car into jawan

Ludhiana, April 7
A Shastra Sema Bal (SSB) jawan sustained a leg fracture after a minor girl lost control over the car she was driving and hit him. The injured jawan has been identified as Nanu Ram.

The incident took place this afternoon when Nanu Ram was taking part in a flag march at Kidwai Nagar.

An eyewitness said the girl lost control over the vehicle and hit the jawan on the leg. Nanu was admitted to the hospital.

The minor girl was booked in a case of reckless driving causing injury to a person.

The girl's father, who is an industrialist, tried to exert political pressure to avoid the registration of case. — TNS



Man held for raping minor in vehicle
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 7
A 32-year-old taxi driver was arrested by the police for raping a 14-year-old girl in a vehicle here. The accused, identified as Amit Kumar of Jodhewal Basti, was arrested on a statement of the victim.

The incident took place last evening when the girl, a resident of EWS Colony, near Samrala Chowk, went missing under mysterious circumstances.

The girl's parents brought the matter to the notice of the police and filed a missing complaint.

In the morning, the girl returned home and told the parents that Amit had kidnapped her from outside the house and raped her repeatedly in a car.

She said Amit drove the car across the whole night and then left her outside the house in the morning.

The victim's father said Amit, who was a taxi driver, came in contact with his daughter during their recent visit to Amritsar.



ludhiana votes 2014
Candidates make a pitch for support
Day after filing nomination papers, they focus on unemployment, drug peddling, corruption
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

AAP candidate HS Phoolka with his supporters in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
AAP candidate HS Phoolka with his supporters in Ludhiana on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, April 8
Both Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu and Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali raised the issues of unemployment in their respective poll campaigns today.

The leaders admitted that unemployment had increased in the past few years.

While the SAD candidate blamed the Congress-led UPA government for this, the Congress candidate charged the Akali Dal-BJP alliance for failing to generate adequate employment opportunities for the youth.

The issue of drugs also dominated the poll campaigns. Bittu alleged that the Akali Dal-BJP alliance leaders were involved in drug peddling. Even as Bittu launched a scathing attack on the ruling alliance, Belan Brigade (formed under the auspices of the Navkiran Women Welfare Association) asked Bittu to clarify his stand on distribution of drugs during the poll. The Congress candidate is yet to take an oath on “not distributing” drugs, said the brigade leaders.

Meanwhile, raising a pitch for the BJP prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, Ayali said the Congress had failed on all fronts. He slammed the Congress over the issues of corruption and inflation.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate HS Phoolka, too, raised the issue of corruption at different levels of governance. He flayed the UPA government at the Centre and the Akali-BJP combine in the state for “failing to curb corruption”.

“We need to teach the politicians of this country a lesson. You (the electorate) had chosen them and they failed you,” said Phoolka, prompting some Akali and Congress supporters to say that Phoolka is also a part of the country’s political class.

The AAP candidate also discussed the right to recall mechanism.

“AAP has proposed the right to recall, whereby the public would have a right to recall a non-performing candidate,” he said.

Both the Congress and AAP candidates focused on their respective parties’ agenda for rural areas. Phoolka reiterated AAP’s promise of setting up an Agriculture Income Commission which would safeguard interests of the farming community. Bittu said the UPA government had been connecting villages with high-speed Internet under the National Optical Fibre Scheme. He said the Congress had established poly houses in villages under the National Horticulture Scheme.

“The Congress has provided 50 per cent subsidy to farmers for this,” he said.

Meanwhile, in the season of “switching loyalties”, the Congress claimed that Balbir Singh Rathore from the Gill Assembly constituency, who had quit the Congress during the Assembly elections to join the Akali Dal, had rejoined the party.

The SAD, meanwhile, claimed the support of Independent councillor Jasvir Jassa.



Social welfare on his mind, this youth, too, is in the fray
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
“All political parties, including Aam Aadmi Party, preach that space should be created for young, educated and approachable candidates, but none open their doors for such people,” says 28-year-old Navpreet Singh Bedi, who will be contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Ludhiana as an Independent.

Bedi is a postgraduate in English linguistic as well as in journalism and mass communication. He has also completed the bachelor of laws and is presently pursuing a foreign language (French) course at Punjab Agricultural University.

Bedi says most of his friends are fed up of the existing political system and do not vote.

“They only complain about the existing system. That’s why I decided to work in the direction of changing the system,” says Bedi.

The youth says he supported a well-educated candidate and worked hard for his victory in 2007.

“But after winning the Assembly elections, the candidate did not complete his term in order to cash in on another political opportunity. I got disappointed and decided to contest the elections,” he says.

In 2012, Bedi contested the Punjab Assembly elections, but did not succeed.

“I have my own simple ideology: action should speak louder than words,” he says.

The young contestant says AAP’s ideology was similar to his, but, when Kejriwal announced the candidature of parachute candidates, he decided to part ways.

Bedi says he is working for a change in society.

“I help people at police stations, municipal corporation offices and the administration offices. I have no hurry to become a leader, but will serve society and one day society will recognise my services. Health and education will be my priority,” says Bedi.



Faction-ridden INTUC lends conditional support to Congress
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 8
The ongoing controversy over the leadership of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) has snowballed to the extent that the present leadership has decided to support Congress candidates only if the state party unit accorded recognition to its leaders.

A working committee meeting held here with Subhash Sharma in the chair expressed its resentment over certain “self-styled persons” posing as the office-bearers of the INTUC without evoking any reaction from the state leadership of the Congress.

Sharma said INTUC cadres would lend support to Congress nominees on the condition that Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee president Partap Singh Bajwa comes out with a public statement recognising Dr G Sanjeeva Reddy and Subhash Sharma as the national and state president of the body respectively.

He said that the INTUC, being a registered body and trade union wing of the Congress party, had ideological and political bonds with its parent party.

While the All India Congress Committee accorded proper recognition to present office-bearers of the INTUC in the state, certain state leaders lend tacit support to some of the self-styled leaders claiming to be the office-bearers, Sharma said.

The state INTUC chief made it clear that in case the state Congress leaders failed to make their stand clear over the leadership of the trade union, workers would be directed to press the “none of the above” button on the electronic voting machines.

Subhash Sharma, however, added that such an eventuality would not arise.

He said better sense would prevail over the party’s state leadership.



Car rally to raise awareness
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
To encourage residents to vote, students of the PCTE Group of Institutes will take out a car rally tomorrow.

Around 200 students have registered their cars for the rally, which will pass through Ferozepur Road, Ghumar Mandi, Mall Road and Model Town besides other areas of the city.

Group director-general Dr KNS Kang said hopefully, the youth of the city will speak out their mind and vote during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.



fatehgarh sahib votes 2014
Dhillon campaigns for Kulwant Singh
Our Correspondent

Samrala, April 8
The country needs Narendra Modi for a better future as the Congress has failed to safeguard interests of the citizens. This was stated by PWD Minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, while talking to mediapersons at Neelon.

Dhillon said the country was “on the back foot” due to wrong policies of the Congress.

Dhillon said the Punjab government had done enough for the development of the state with people-oriented policies, while the Congress was a divided house in the state.

The minister appealed to the people of the area to vote in favour of the Akali Dal-BJP candidate from Fatehgarh Sahib constituency, Kulwant Singh, for the development of the area.

Former local MLA Jagjivan Singh Khirnia also campaigned for Kulwant Singh.



Cotton production in focus at farm varsity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
A number of cotton scientists from all over India have come to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to attend a three-day annual group meeting of the All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project, which was formally inaugurated on Tuesday.

Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, Dr Swapan K Dutta, was the chief guest on the occasion. He said cotton cultivation had a bright future.

"We need to relook our strategies to focus more on agri-business. Research in cotton is not just about developing new varieties and better pest management practices but there are other issues also," he said. Three scientists - Dr Sesa Khader, Dr V Nageshwaran and Sree Lakshmi were presented the Best Paper Award 2014. Four new publications were also released.



Entrepreneurs give tips to students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
Entrepreneurs from the district who successfully set up and took their ventures to new heights shared their experience with students of management institutes, during a programme organised by the IIHED here today.

Mrs Rajni Bector, who started Mrs Bectors Cremica, said hard work and sincerity were extremely important. When she started working from her kitchen, she used to work till 3 am and resumed work at 6 am, she said. Mrs Bector said an entrepreneur must never compromise at any stage of the business venture.

Dinesh Lakra from Lakra Group said understanding the importance of time as a resource was a must for an entrepreneur. He advised the students to put all their efforts into achieving their aim.

Sandeep Minnie Riat of Akal Spring said passion and fire in the belly were a prerequisite to succeed as an entrepreneur.

“The concept of employer and employee is ending nowadays. Committed intrapreneurs, i.e. the employees who take on leadership roles and take initiatives to start ventures within the company, are valued,” she said.

One must look out for opportunities in every situation, said Ranjodh Singh of GS Radiators. He said one should focus on sustainability and credibility to create business success.

Rahul-R-Ahuja of Rajnish International said learning to delegate was vital for running any company.

“The work has to be system-dependent and not person-dependent,” he said.

He told the students about various government schemes that start-ups could make use of.

Gurkirat Singh from the Gulzar Group of Institutes said trust, values and systems were important for any business. He said it was the spirit of entrepreneurship in Ludhiana that helped the industry sustain even during the hostile business environment.



Tubewell operators await salaries for three months
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
More than 650 tubewell operators, working on a fixed salary with the Municipal Corporation, have not got their salaries for the last three months. The tubewell operators get a fixed salary of Rs 3,100 per month. There are about 650 tubewells in the city that are being managed by these operators.

An MC official said the elected representatives (councillors) recommend names of their close aides even for this modest job. Their contracts are extended after a few months.

"The councillors want their men to get these jobs. The already working operators had to be given extensions, but due to the imposition of model code of conduct, the extension could not be given. The issue is hanging fire and whether new tubewell operators would be hired or the old ones would continue, will be decided after the elections," said the official.

Chet Ram, a tubewell operator, said it had become very difficult to run the household without salary. "It has been about three months that we have not got our salaries. They can take whatever decision they want but at least they should pay our salaries,” said the operator.

"Though they are hired by the MC, they are rarely seen near the tubewells. Instead, most of the tubewell operators have hired workers, who work for them at lesser wages and they themselves do other jobs to run their homes," said an official.

Additional Commissioner, MC, Dr Sumit Jarangal, said, "The salaries of tubewell operators should not be stopped and we will take up the matter with the Mayor. The decision of giving extension to the old operators or hiring new ones must not come in the way of releasing salaries."



Parents’ association opposes fee hike
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
With the start of the new academic session in schools, parents have been up in arms against some of the schools for unjustified fee hike. The Parents Association, a group of parents, has also become active to fight on the issue.

According to the office-bearers of the Parents Association, they got several complaints from parents about this unjustified decision of various schools of the city. Members of the association visited these schools to press the authorities to act in favour of the demands of parents.

The office-bearers claim that more than 750 parents are associated with them.

The association was constituted in January 2014 to fight against the unjustified decisions of schools affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education.

The association, led by Rajinder Gahi, had initiated a door-to-door campaign to register parents.

Talking about the objectives, Rajinder Ghai, president of the association said, “Parents often complain about the decisions of school managements. But the managements never respond. We have united the parents to raise their voice.”

Rajinder Ghai said school managements have been collecting money on the name of readmission, building funds and annual charges.

“We have questioned the school authorities on this. The schools managements seek profit like grocery shops. Common men have no other alternative but to send their children to these schools for quality education. We demand a regulatory body to keep a check on fee hike and other such issues regarding private schools,” he added.

Kamal Nandwani from the Parents Association said, “15 to 20 per cent fee hike is justified. But the schools have almost doubled the fee.”



Board all set to conduct Joint Entrance Test on April 20
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
Punjab State Board of Technical and Industrial Education is all set to conduct the Joint Entrance Test (JET) for admission in technical institutes of the state and UT. The board will conduct the test on April 20.

The board has constituted around 200 examination centres across the state to conduct the test.

According to information, the board will constitute more than 20 examination centres in Ludhiana. The officials of the board said the final list of the examination centres would be released soon.

The last date for the submission of forms for the test was April 4. Now the board has been preparing admit cards for the applicants.

Officials said the board would issue the roll numbers to the applicants before April 15. The admit cards will also be available on the official website of the board.

Registrar-cum-Controller Dr AS Arunachala said in case an applicant didn’t receive his roll number in time, he/she can contact the head office.

As per the schedule issued by the board, the test will be held from 10 am to 1 pm on April 20. The paper will be based on the Class X syllabi and there will be no negative marking. The students will have to attempt 200 questions from subjects: English, general knowledge, math, chemistry and physics.

The students will have to choose college or institution in Punjab and Chandigarh as per the merit list of the test.

fact file
The board has constituted around 200 examination centres across the state to conduct the test
Officials said the board would issue the roll numbers to the applicants before April 15
As per the schedule issued by the board, the test will be held from 10 am to 1 pm on April 20



Local markets await arrival of wheat crop
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 8
Even eight days after the procurement season began, all the eight grain markets under the Market Committee, Ludhiana, are awaiting the arrival of wheat crop. Experts say the harvesting has been delayed due to the cold weather.

Officials of the market committee expect the crop to arrive after Baisakhi.

The Punjab Mandi Board had started the procurement on April 1. Last year, the wheat crop had arrived in the markets in advance.

Jasbir Singh, market committee secretary, said, "All the arrangements of potable water and toilets for farmers have been made. Power will be supplied once the crop arrives.”



ludhiana scan
Students fete Punjabi culture

Students don traditional attire at the Pinnacle Institute of Fashion Technology in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
Students don traditional attire at the Pinnacle Institute of Fashion Technology in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Fashion Design Department students of the Pinnacle Institute of Fashion Technology (PIFT) displayed their talent and creativity during a programme on Tuesday. The event, held at the institute, had mannequins wearing traditional Punjabi attire besides charkhas and phulkari work in the background. The audience cheered for the participants. The performances were summed up with a PowerPoint presentation based on the research done by Shweta Sharma and Savjot Singh of BSc-I.

Pulse Polio drive

On the third day of the pulse polio drive, the total number of houses visited by the teams stood at 1,67,486 and the total number of children vaccinated was 77,959. District Immunisation Officer Dr Hans said children in the age group of 0-5 years were being administered polio drops. Though World Health Organisation has declared India as polio-free, administering polio drops to children is necessary to avoid its relapse in the country.

Rotary Club meet

Rotary Club, Ludhiana Greater, held a meeting at the Ludhiana Club, Civil Lines. The meeting was special as Rotary district governor paid a special visit to the club. The Rotary district 3070, which spreads over parts of Punjab and Himachal and throughout Jammu and Kashmir, has 116 clubs. Its governor is Dr Pawan Gupta. The annual report of the club was read out by Dr Rajan Bir Singh Thind. Dr Thind said the club undertook more than 112 projects. The club arranged for 8 heart surgeries of small children at Christian Medical College and Hospital.

Blood donation

A blood donation camp was organised today by Bhai Ghaniya Ji Sewa Society. The camp was dedicated to Sajna Divas of Khalsa Pant. Akali- BJP candidate from Ludhiana, Manpreet Singh Ayali, was the chief guest on the occasion. He said one should make it a point to keep donating blood regularly as it can save lives.

Artificial limb distribution camp

Bhagwan Mahavir Sewa Sansthan will organise a polio campaign and artificial limb distribution camp on April 10. The camp will be held at Viklang Sahaiyta Kender, Rishi Nagar. Apart from wheel chairs and hearing aids, artificial limbs will be distributed free of cost. The camp will start at 9.30 am. — TNS



Youth ends life
Was duped by travel agent
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 8
A youth committed suicide after a travel agent allegedly duped him of Rs 15 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad. The incident happened at Raipur Rajputan village near khanna.

The deceased has been identified as Gurmeet Singh. The police have registered a case in this regard. A suicide note was also recovered from the house of the deceased.

According to Jatinder Singh, a cousin of the deceased, Gurmeet gave Rs 15 lakh to Jaswinder Singh, a travel agent and a resident of Daumajra near Kharar, for sending him to Canada in 2007-2008. But the travel agent neither fulfilled the promise nor returned his money back.

The complainant said the deceased took this extreme step when the travel agent refused to give back his money and even threatened him.

Investigation Officer Gurdeep Singh said a case had been registered and the investigation was in progress.



Cricket meet from April 11
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 8
Eight teams will take part in the 8th edition of the Sanjeev Kaushik Cricket Tournament for Boys (U-16) from April 11. The T20 cricket tournament is to be held at the Baran Hara ground on Hambran Road.

Varinder Patwari, organising secretary, said entries can be sent to BSG Properties, Chhoti Haibowal, near Sabzi Mandi. The interested teams can also confirm their participation on 9815667667 by April 10.



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