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We have to strike a balance between life and livelihood: Shekhawat

Brijesh Pandey

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Shekhawat
We have to strike a balance between life and livelihood: Shekhawat

In an exclusive chat with The Daily Guardian, Union Jal Shakti Minister, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat spoke on various issues—from the way India is fighting the coronavirus pandemic and is enhancing its medical capabilities to the politics being played in his home state Rajasthan and in West Bengal.

Q: When the rest of the world is not being able to contain the deadly coronavirus, India is doing a much better job of dealing with it. What are the reasons that India is faring well where the more advanced countries have failed miserably?

A: All the countries that used to set the world’s narrative, all the countries that used to boast that they had the best healthcare system— all of them have been decimated. Compared to that, we are in a situation where we have the least mortality rate, and in proportion to our population the number of corona positive cases is also low. Our graph is almost flattened and our doubling rate is also very good. And all this is because of the timely steps taken by our Prime Minister and this government. When this corona problem started go ing from China to other countries, we took immediate steps. The second the first corona positive came, we took all the steps possible to contain it. From the first case on 30 January till today, it has been 87 days— compared to us, analyse the situation in any other country on their 87th day. We had one laboratory in January and now we have more than 330 laboratories. There was not one factory which could make PPE and we would import it. Today more than 100 companies are making PPEs. We are making 1 lakh PPE kits daily. And if we count the number of proposals in the pipeline, then the number of companies would double to 200 and we might become the second country after China to become the largest manufacturers of PPE kits. It’s the same story with ventilators, N95 masks and other stuff. If we talk of pharmaceuticals, then India has emerged as the “Dhanvantri” of the world, where we have supplied medicines to 55 countries, including superpowers like America. But to top it, as the Prime Minister said in his “Mann Ki Baat”, the kind of commitment with which people have cooperated (with the government) is nothing but exemplary.

Q: You are part of a highpowered Group of Ministers (GOM), what is the road ahead?

A: One thing is for sure that the menace of this virus is going to stay for a long time. So we have to make some permanent changes in our behaviour. As the Prime Minister said that the only way is, do gaj doori. We have to imbibe this mantra for a long time. We have to strike a balance between life and livelihood. We cannot have a lockdown forever, but we can definitely adopt a safety protocol, be it personal hygiene or social distancing or wearing a mask. These have to be made permanent so that we can save ourselves, our family and our nation.

Q: What is the Jal Shakti Ministry up to during the time of lockdown?

A: After the relaxation, our ministry has been in touch with various states and some work related to water ministry has started.

Q: You are Member of Parliament from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. How are you helping the people of Rajasthan who are stranded outside their state?

A: This is a very difficult time. I understand their pain. Even people related to me are stuck in other places. The day lockdown was announced, we generated a helpline number and we answered every call that came and tried to help as many people as possible. I would like to appeal to the people who are still stranded that they should be patient—for their state and their country.

Q: The Bhilwara model has been much celebrated in the fight against coronavirus. How is the fight against corona going on in your state?

A: The situation in Bhilwara was different. A doctor couple had come from abroad and had contracted coronavirus. They got themselves admitted and all the people who were in touch with them were traced and then treated. If there is anyone I would like to thank, it is the people of Bhilwara. The kind of commitment which was shown by them in abiding with the curfew, the way the local administration handled things, no wonder Bhilwara entered the green zone. But the same government which was claiming success in Bhilwara failed miserably in Jodhpur and Jaipur because they were in a state of complacency. The state couldn’t impose either curfew or lockdown in these places properly. People in the Rajasthan government should seriously introspect as to why the government, which was successful in Bhilwara, failed in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Tonk and Ajmer.

Q: Do you think that there are differences of opinion between the states and Centre on this?

A: Under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi we have always believed in the principle of cooperative federalism. The PM has held four meetings with CMs to listen to their points of view. We are one in this fight, but I feel that a few people sitting in the state government are viewing this as an opportunity to do politics, which is extremely unfortunate. It is extremely unfortunate that even in my state some incidents like this happened. One MLA, in a crowded gathering not only defied the curfew, but then asked the crowd who was better—Modi or Gehlot! If an old woman says that Modi is better then she is asked to go away and light diya. Nothing can be more unfortunate than this. The Rajasthan Health Minister’s behaviour is unpardonable. He misquoted the Prime Minister with reference to an ex CM. I challenged him to prove it (the statement) in 24 hours or apologise. I also asked the CM to condemn him. This is extremely unfortunate.

Q: One more state is alleging that the Centre is violating the federal spirit of the Constitution and that state is West Bengal.

A: This is extremely unfortunate but as I said, the time is not ripe to discuss such a thing. Right now, we are one and are fighting against the coronavirus. The state you mentioned, people there too are watching all developments closely. And in future when the time comes, people will give them a befitting reply

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ELVISA COSMETICS LAUNCHED TO PROVIDE PERSONALISED BEAUTY EXPERIENCE

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Renowned International model Elvisa has recently launched her new venture Elvisa cosmetics. Elvisa revealed she’s been working on the brand for the past few years and that her friends and family have been testing out the products. Amongst its many firsts, the Elvisa Cosmetics offers an innovative range of different makeup products including different shades of foundations, lipsticks, primer, and other beauty essentials where you can mix and match to create your desired signature shade in trendy tones. Besides personalised skincare consultations from beauty advisors, the brand also offers mini makeovers and makeup tutorials by Elvisa that consist of diamond lips, smokey eyes, charcoal glitter lids, golden glam eye shadow, sculpt and contour, tips to get perfect eyebrows and iconic eyeliner looks. The various categories of products have been divided into convenient sections enabling shoppers to pick their favourites with ease. Commenting on the launch, Elvisa, CEO, Elvisa Cosmetics said, “We are thrilled to launch our first-ever cosmetic range for the most diverse women across the world. We are extremely delighted with the response we are getting for our unique products. With this launch we are also unlocking the potential of our online store to create an endless aisle shopping experience for our loyal customers and deepen our bond with them.” Currently, she has an online family of 721K followers on her Instagram page. She loves to experiment with her clothes, it’s colour shades. She loves to travel and keeps her social media handle regularly updates about her whereabouts. She loves pink, black and brown colours and we can see her trying on different attires of these particular shades. The latter has earlier been seen on various fashion runways and shows flaunting her unique clothing style and walk. She started her journey on Instagram, a photo and video sharing online app which has given a breakthrough to numerous fashion icons. “I wanted to start my own cosmetics line because I want to build my own unique brand and leave a legacy behind. My goal wasn’t to always wear brands, it was to become one.”

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Marks & Spencer showcases India Festive Fusion collection

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Celebrating the festive season in style, the iconic British brand Marks & Spencer presented their latest collection, India special occasion wear in a fashion show in New Delhi. Bollywood celebrity Neha Dhupia was seen on the ramp as the showstopper, who looked stunning as ever. The new mom was mesmerising in a deep green embroidered round neck dress with contrast colour paisley print. Accompanying her on the ramp was her handsome actor husband Angad Bedi, looking dapper in velvet teal peak label blazer, black shirt and versatile dark trousers from the new occasion wear collection. Neha, who delivered a baby boy earlier this month, looked tres chic in the India Festive Fusion collection. The actor, being the popular body positive advocate, chose a relaxed fit dress and walked the ramp with no qualms about her post-partum body. Commenting on the newly launched collections, James Munson, MD, Marks & Spencer India said, “Designed in response to an increasing desire among customers for chic outfits that can work hard in their wardrobes, the latest collections can be dressed up for an occasion or paired down for daily wear. Neha looks absolutely fantastic in the collection, especially after recently welcoming her new arrival. It’s great to have her and Angad join M&S this evening,” he further added about the show and showstoppers. Talking about her association with the brand, Neha was ecstatic as she shared, “Marks & Spencer has been a constant in my wardrobe for over a decade now. From my early days, M&S was my go-to for must-haves and fashion staples, and now I am wearing their India special occasion wear. I also love the evening wear for men, like what Angad is wearing. The brand never fails to surprise and delight, and I am glad to be a part of M&S event once again.” Angad added “Evening wear for Indian men from M&S is a sartorial treat. Some pieces like the Bandgala and Bandi jackets are a great addition to their existing product range. This collection helps make dressing up for any occasion easy.” The fashion show tossed up must-have pieces like elevated flowing dresses, chic pant suits, beautiful tops on female models. Male models wore opulent velvet bandh galas, dinner jackets, waistcoats, premium shirts in rich sateen and ornate prints, exquisitely tailored trousers and top-notch polo t-shirts. The presentation also showcased a combination of smart autumn-winter, loungewear and festive fare, as a part of this special celebratory fashion repertoire.

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Drone Spraying in Sangli Sugarcane Cultivation, entrepreneur introduces new trends in MH Agriculture

Social impact entrepreneur Prateek Patil has implemented a line of drone technology for spraying fertilisers which has already covered 3,200 acres of sugarcane area benefiting over 2,000 farmers in Walwa, Sangli.

Sangli District has been grounds for pioneering agriculture and irrigation works in Western Maharashtra. From the cooperative movement to drip irrigation, innovation has been a sign of the cultivation in the region. The drone spraying technology introduced by Prateek and adopted by the Rajarambapu Sugar Factory in Sangli in 2020-2021 has not only reduced time and efforts of the farmers but also increasedprofitability. To launch this initiative, Prateek conducted 22 ‘Shetkari Parisamvads’ where he met over 4,900 farmers to incept the idea and talk about the benefits of this technology. According to him, “acceptance to new methods is often the most difficult step in the Indian agricultural landscape, and to get their willingness to try new schemes is one of the challenging parts.”

Prateek has been involved with agro-innovation and has conducted several initiatives to aid and propagate drip irrigation. These meetings across Sangli propelled the conversation and attracted many farmers to come and test out the drone technology.

SAVING TIME, MONEY AND WATER

Conventionally the farmer sprays his crops physically. Even with hired manual labour, this is a costly and time-consuming affair. In the manual spraying method, for one-acre sugarcane, a farmer would spend around Rs 1000 on spraying labour charges along with 200 L water and a higher quantity of chemicals.

To address these problems, coupled with the lack of labourers during Covid-19, Prateek decided to introduce this technique. He took it upon himself to test the technology and setup a partnership with a regional manufacturing company. The drones are given out on rent at very affordable rates saving almost 40% of total costs. It utilises only 10 L water, saving almost 150 L. Also, now it takes only 5-10 mins to spray fertilisers and permitted pesticides on one acre of sugarcane as opposed to 4-5 hours earlier. Crops at any height can be effectively reached and 4 nozzles guarantee a comprehensive and equal distribution of fertilisers and pesticides.

It is flexible across climate conditions and allows for uniform spraying of entire fields. A reduction of 25-50% in the quantity of fertilisers and pesticides used has been observed after adapting drone spraying and the quality of yield of crops has been found to increase by 20-30%, which has resulted in more income.

GENERATING EMPLOYMENT

Use of this drone technology also has an additional advantage of generating employment for the local youth in manufacturing and operations. The Sugar Factory has partnered with a company called Chatak Innovations for assembling and operating drones. Labour force hiring for the drone operation facility like Drone Pilots & Co-Pilots, Cars & Drivers for the drone’s transport and the supervision team is facilitated under the leadership of Prateek. Employment numbers for assembling and operating is expected to increase as more farmers adopt drone technology.

Currently, the factory uses a 10 L Octocopter drone. After conducting an initial pilot, this technology is being introduced on a greater scale to farmers of the region. Till date, over 3,200 acres of area have been covered by drone spraying benefiting over 2000 farmers of the region. Each drone is currently covering 9 to 12 acres in a day and this is a first-of-its-kind exercise conducted by a sugar factory in Maharashtra, stated Vikas Deshmukh, Director, Vasantdada Sugar Institute.

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Social impact entrepreneur Prateek Patil has implemented a line of drone technology for spraying fertilisers which has already covered 3,200 acres of sugarcane area benefiting over 2,000 farmers in Walwa, Sangli.

Sangli District has been grounds for pioneering agriculture and irrigation works in Western Maharashtra. From the cooperative movement to drip irrigation, innovation has been a sign of the cultivation in the region. The drone spraying technology introduced by Prateek and adopted by the Rajarambapu Sugar Factory in Sangli in 2020-2021 has not only reduced time and efforts of the farmers but also increasedprofitability. To launch this initiative, Prateek conducted 22 ‘Shetkari Parisamvads’ where he met over 4,900 farmers to incept the idea and talk about the benefits of this technology. According to him, “acceptance to new methods is often the most difficult step in the Indian agricultural landscape, and to get their willingness to try new schemes is one of the challenging parts.”

Prateek has been involved with agro-innovation and has conducted several initiatives to aid and propagate drip irrigation. These meetings across Sangli propelled the conversation and attracted many farmers to come and test out the drone technology.

SAVING TIME, MONEY AND WATER

Conventionally the farmer sprays his crops physically. Even with hired manual labour, this is a costly and time-consuming affair. In the manual spraying method, for one-acre sugarcane, a farmer would spend around Rs 1000 on spraying labour charges along with 200 L water and a higher quantity of chemicals.

To address these problems, coupled with the lack of labourers during Covid-19, Prateek decided to introduce this technique. He took it upon himself to test the technology and setup a partnership with a regional manufacturing company. The drones are given out on rent at very affordable rates saving almost 40% of total costs. It utilises only 10 L water, saving almost 150 L. Also, now it takes only 5-10 mins to spray fertilisers and permitted pesticides on one acre of sugarcane as opposed to 4-5 hours earlier. Crops at any height can be effectively reached and 4 nozzles guarantee a comprehensive and equal distribution of fertilisers and pesticides.

It is flexible across climate conditions and allows for uniform spraying of entire fields. A reduction of 25-50% in the quantity of fertilisers and pesticides used has been observed after adapting drone spraying and the quality of yield of crops has been found to increase by 20-30%, which has resulted in more income.

GENERATING EMPLOYMENT

Use of this drone technology also has an additional advantage of generating employment for the local youth in manufacturing and operations. The Sugar Factory has partnered with a company called Chatak Innovations for assembling and operating drones. Labour force hiring for the drone operation facility like Drone Pilots & Co-Pilots, Cars & Drivers for the drone’s transport and the supervision team is facilitated under the leadership of Prateek. Employment numbers for assembling and operating is expected to increase as more farmers adopt drone technology.

Currently, the factory uses a 10 L Octocopter drone. After conducting an initial pilot, this technology is being introduced on a greater scale to farmers of the region. Till date, over 3,200 acres of area have been covered by drone spraying benefiting over 2000 farmers of the region. Each drone is currently covering 9 to 12 acres in a day and this is a first-of-its-kind exercise conducted by a sugar factory in Maharashtra, stated Vikas Deshmukh, Director, Vasantdada Sugar Institute.

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MINISTERS LAUD JGU AS 1ST UNIVERSITY TO RELEASE UN-SDG REPORT 2021

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On the occasion of the United Nations Day 2021, O.P. Jindal Global University released the first-of-its-kind Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: Role of Universities and Civil Society in Protecting the Environment Report, mapping its compliance towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations.

Setting a global benchmark, O.P. Jindal Global University has become one of the first universities to fully commit to and implement the SDGs on its campus, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report was launched in the presence of Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Education, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Environment, Professor (Dr.) Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General Association of Indian Universities, Atul Bagai, Head of Country Office United Nations Environment Programme and Sudhir Mishra, Founder & Managing Partner, Trust Legal, Advocates & Consultants.

The UN SDGs include affordable and sustainable energy, combating climate change, eradicating hunger, education, health, and gender equality.

To demonstrate its commitment towards the implementation of the SDGs, O.P. Jindal Global University engaged in an independent assessment of its campus and initiatives to get a transparent and fair view of the university’s progress in compliance with the UN SDGs.

A cohort of 12 assessors from the environment and legal fields including The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Trust Legal, Advocates & Consultants and Mazars Business Advisors Pvt. Ltd., Trust Legal, Advocates & Consultants carried out a rigorous evaluation of the university’s processes ranging from the university’s energy consumption to water management systems and community engagement initiatives.

Pradhan said, “The launch of the report comes at an opportune moment when the world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend COP26 meeting at Glasgow next month. Diverse voices in the form of reports, scientific inquiry, and debates will only enrich our collective knowledge in protecting the health of the planet.”

“Universities have responsibility to contribute not only to the local communities but also to the global community. This is primarily because they have the capacity to help students develop a holistic understanding of how a wide range of local, national and global challenges can be addressed. The role of universities in the road to sustainable development is crucial. It becomes imperative that the universities devote time and resources to create an SDG-ready generation that remains focused on the mission to achieve sustainable development,” he added.

Choubey said, “I congratulate the Vice-Chancellor of JGU that under his leadership, JGU is not only committed to excellence in education but has also demonstrated a vision to implement the UN-SDG goals at the university. Educational institutions can play a pivotal role in informing young people and create awareness about the steps needed to protect and preserve the environment.”

Kumar said, “The Sustainability Development Report 2021 demonstrates our commitment to creating a green and socially-conscious campus and to have a transparent and fair view of our progress in our compliance with the UN SDGs. JGU has moved towards a healthier and safer environment by implementing the SDGs within its campus. By taking efforts to implement the UN-SDGs, JGU has shown the way to other educational institutions, how futuristic, social and environmental commitments are met.”

Setting the context for why universities must play a role in implementing SDGs, Bagai said, “Today, we are all facing ‘the triple planetary crisis’. It is the crisis of climate, the crisis of nature, and the crisis of pollution and waste. The crisis is very clearly a consequence of the economic path that we have pursued along with resource-intensive processes, consequent lifestyle changes due to economic growth and urbanisation. It is a rare feat for a university not only in south Asia or in Asia Pacific to have come up with such a report. It’s an extremely laudable effort which will be a game-changer. We should make it available to every university in the country.”

O.P. Jindal Global University has created a sustainable model with solar power generation by contributing excess power to the grid. The university has aimed in instituting zero-net emission policies and investing in on-campus renewable energy production by developing long-term resource efficiency and management plans. Close to 55% of the university’s campus is under a green cover. A green area around the university helps to arrest the effects of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants in the area besides playing a major role in environmental conservation efforts.

The university has also set up the Jindal School of Environment and Sustainability to ensure that it creates innovation and young leadership to combat climate change and its impact. It also provides interdisciplinary education across other schools to ensure that there is adequate awareness on this important subject across the entire university.

Professor Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General Association of Indian Universities said, “We do realise that India is placed at 120th rank in implementation of SDG 2021 and this calls for urgent action from all sectors of the society. Due to their unique position in society, the higher education institutions have immense scope and potential to contribute towards realising all 17 SDGs and thereby accomplishing them. I feel that rather realising the SDGs without the cooperation of the higher education sector is quite an impossible task. In India, there is a lot of tacit contribution of HEIs in implementing SDGs, but there is no documented data on the same.”

Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Registrar, O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) gave the concluding address and said, “We have taken a step in the right direction towards promoting the significance of UN-SGDs by progressively undertaking activities to meet the goals in consonance with the National Education Policy. I am also happy to report that most recently we have opened a student chapter of the International Green Building Campus under the aegis of the Confederation of Indian Industry. A very futuristic and a definite step has been taken to create a green campus.”

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UTTARAKHAND CM TO FORM HIGH-POWERED COMMITTEE TO MONITOR RECONSTRUCTION WORK AFTER DAMAGE BY RAINFALL

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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Monday said that the state government will constitute a high-powered committee to monitor reconstruction work after the damage caused by incessant rainfall.

Speaking to ANI, Dhami said, “We will constitute a high-powered committee to monitor reconstruction work of the damage caused by the calamity. The committee will also look after the relief work and relief assistance given to the affected people. We are assessing the damage caused by the disaster.” Dhami stated that no casualty has been reported among tourists in the state during incessant rains due to the state’s prompt actions.

“Due to our prompt actions, there has been no casualty among tourists in the state during rains. Our next step is to complete the reconstruction work as soon as possible and provide relief to affected people,” he added.

Uttarakhand has been facing incessant rainfall for the past few days which caused landslides and floods.

The death toll due to rain-related incidents in Uttarakhand has mounted to 72 and four people are still missing, said the Uttarakhand government on Sunday.

As per the report, 26 people were injured in the disaster from October 17 to 19.

The rain triggered landslides, house collapses and deluge caused large scale devastation and loss of life and property in the state.

Also, 224 houses were damaged in these incidents. Amid torrential rains, the hilly state has witnessed flooded roads, landslides, and overflowing rivers leaving people stranded in various places.

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DELHI HC URGES ALL STAKEHOLDERS FOR SUGGESTIONS REGARDING UPGRADE OF SECURITY IN COURT PREMISES

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The Delhi High Court on Monday gave the last opportunity to all stakeholders including different bar associations of Delhi Districts courts to file their response and suggestions regarding the upgradation and enhancement of security in Delhi’s Courts in the wake of Rohini Court shootout incident.

A bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh on Monday after taking note that several stakeholders have yet to file their response or suggestions in the matter said the respondents must submit it by October 29 and no further time will be given. Court later adjourned the matter for November 8, when Court likely can pass its order.

Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma appearing for the Delhi Police apprised the Court that Delhi Police has Physical checking points in every court’s entry point, door metals have been installed at various courts, 2,300 CCTVs installed, tender floated for procuring adequate scanner x-ray machines etc.

Advocate KC Mittal appearing on behalf of Saket Court District Bar Association suggested that separate dress codes for the clerks ought to be provided so that they do not mix up with the advocates, and the order to be strictly followed by them. A Common Proximity Card or Smart Card for advocates for High Court and all District Courts may be issued by an independent agency, Mittal submitted.

Centralised RFID Tag for cars or vehicles of lawyers to be issued by the District Judge Office which would be functional for the High Court as well as all the District Courts, suggested Lawyer KC Mittal on behalf of Saket Court Bar Association.

Earlier, the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) said that all advocates shall abide by the security checks and in case any advocate violates the security check, the concerned Bar Association or Bar Council of Delhi will take action and in case the Bar Association deems fit, the matter shall be referred to Bar Council of Delhi by the respective Bar Association, for taking action treating the same as misconduct.

The law interns shall carry their identity cards and will also not wear black coats. For them, the dress code shall be decided by further deliberations, further suggested BCD.

The Court earlier had sought suggestions of all stakeholders including different Bar Associations and Bar Council of Delhi regarding the up-gradation of Security in the premises of Delhi District Courts after the shootout in Rohini Court.

The High Court was hearing on suo moto congnisance along with a petition which was moved by a female lawyer Deepa Joseph through Advocate Robin Raju seeking several directions in regards to safety and security in court premises.

Earlier, Delhi Police also informed the court that security of all the seven District Courts has been taken over by the Security Unit, specialised unit of Delhi Police and necessary security arrangements and staff are being deployed accordingly in wake of Rohini Court firing incident.

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