Mizoram, along with the rest of the country, observed the 73rd Independence Day across the state with Independence Day functions held in all the District capitals and important towns of Mizoram.
In the biggest Independence Day Celebration held at AR Ground, Chief Minister Shri Zoramthanga appealed to the new generation to pay reverence to the supreme sacrifices of the brave freedom fighters and paid tribute to Mr. Darthawma who did last month. He was the last surviving Mizo freedom fighter and member of the Indian National Army during the freedom movement.
The Chief Minister highlighted the various achievements of the government in his Independence Day speech as follows:
1. The government is committed to the successful implementation of the ‘Socio-Economic Development Policy’ (SEDP), which will be the flagship programme of the government. SEDP aims at accelerating progress in key sectors and transforming Mizoram into a welfare state by achieving self-sufficiency in food items, improving social life, bringing happiness and peace to people. The policy will focus on increasing the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Mizoram, improving economic condition of general public, creation of employment opportunities and favourable business environment and bringing in sustainable development. Further, creation of basic infrastructures is an important objective as it is the basis of development. A total of 14 Boards, each headed by a Minister, has been created to serve as nodal agencies for the successful implementation of SEDP.
Cultivation and processing of bamboo is one of the most important components of the government’s flagship programme SEDP. For this purpose, two kinds of bamboo Brandisii and Latifloras are now ready to be cultivated. These bamboos are evergreen bamboos with erect culms more than 50 ft tall and the woody culms are 15-20 inches in diameter. Tissue culture of these bamboos is in process and soon it will be ready to be cultivated in all parts of Mizoram. Government is making an effort for construction of Bamboo Link Road and seed cultivation; in fact for this purpose, the state government will seek funds from the Centre and will also utilize the SEDP budget for implementation.
2. In order to provide better administration and to promote participation of common man in administration, three new Districts namely - Saitual District, Khawzawl District and Hnahthial District have been created, funds for the successful functioning of these districts has also been earmarked and a State Level Committee for demarcation of the boundaries of these new Districts has been constituted and their report is being awaited. Necessary steps for establishment and functioning of Deputy Commissioner’s Office and Superintendent of Police’s Office in the new Districts has also been taken, and all the Departments have also been instructed to prepare plans for setting up of their offices in the new districts.
3. Maintenance of law and order is one of the most important duties of the Government as without peace and security the progress in society becomes difficult. Efforts are on to strengthen the Police Department and it is noteworthy that during the past few years there was no major law & order outbreak in our state due to the tactfulness and quick response of Police Department. The dedication and endless efforts of the Police Department to ensure free and fair poll during the State Legislative Assembly election last year and the General Parliamentary Election to the Lok Sabha earlier this year has paid off remarkably as both these elections were successfully concluded under peaceful atmosphere without any hindrance. In their tireless efforts to tackle contraband items such as narcotic drugs, liquor, arms and ammunitions, fake Indian currency notes and illegal trade, Mizoram police seized large amounts of illicit and narcotic substances with the value of Rs. 58.60 crores. Canine Squad is also being set up under the scheme of ‘Assistance to States for Narcotic Control’. Several equipments were procured during 2018 - 2019 for setting up of Cyber Forensic Lab-cum-Training Centre under the scheme of ‘Prevention of Cyber Crime against Women and Children’. The ‘Emergency Response & Support system’ (ERSS) project is being implemented for taking quick action in the event of natural calamities and other disasters. Under this project, all such emergencies will be reported to the Government through a dedicated telephone number and it has been functional since 13th August, 2019. With a view to strengthen and increase the efficacy of the Police force, a new Police Outpost was inaugurated at Chhingchhip village in Serchhip district on 28th May, 2019 and two new Police Beat Posts were opened at Salem Veng and Bethlehem Vengthlang, Aizawl and another Beat Post was also opened at Farkawn Village in Champhai district. Apart from this, Lunglei Town Surveillance Project and conduit layout of CCTV, LAN and EPABX at Police Headquarters new building at Khatla has been taken up and child-friendly rooms have been established in all Police Stations within Aizawl city and other district headquarters which are being utilized for sheltering and receiving children entering the Police Station at ease.
Mizoram Forensic Science Laboratory (MFSL) has constructively been assisting law enforcing agencies by way of generation of standard scientific evidences. Mizoram FSL is one of the 13 Forensic Laboratories of the country prioritized by the Central Government to implement the Nirbhaya Fund Scheme, which aims to strengthen safety and security of women in the country by ensuring speedy and efficient investigations in cases of sexual assaults. A total cost of Rs.4.19 crores has been sanctioned under this scheme to strengthen DNA and Cyber forensic analysis/examinations in the Laboratory. It is noteworthy that MFSL is the only forensic laboratory across India that maintains zero pendency of cases. It is also the only Laboratory in India that maintains an updated Case examination details via online mode that can be tracked by the Investigating agencies such as Police, Excise & Narcotics departments, etc. for 24 hours round the clock by using distinct passwords allotted to each of them.
4. The administration of Prisons is accorded special importance by the government. Concerted efforts are taken to improve the all round welfare measures of prisoners and basic infrastructure facilities. Construction of a separate Women’s Jail at Central Jail, Aizawl has been completed and is now functioning in full swing. Construction of an Auditorium at Central Jail, Aizawl and resurfacing work of Central Jail approach road is almost completed. An Isolation Ward for male inmates having communicable diseases is also under construction at Central jail, Aizawl which is nearing completion. Ongoing construction of Saitual Sub-Jail and new Male Convict Ward at District Jail, Kolasib are also almost completed.
5. Mizoram has come out at the top among smaller states of India again as informed by the Second Performance on Health Outcomes Index released by NITI Aayog in June, 2019. The Department aims to improve the existing health care services provided by the Sub-Centres by making a facility of Sub-Centres into an institution where delivery of babies can be performed, particularly in rural areas and certain number of Sub-Centres has so far been upgraded. It is, therefore, expected that with the new facilities, Infant Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Ratio willbe decreased to a great extent, which is also one of the main goals of SEDP. Under the National Programme for Control of Blindness & Visual Impairment (NPCBVI), 3008 Free Cataract Operations was performed during the last one year and 50,794 school children were detected with Refractive Error. 2599 free spectacles were provided to school children and 3712 free spectacles also provided to old age persons.
6. 66 High School Science Teachers and 48 High School Mathematics Teacher were recruited during 2018 – 2019. 7 Middle Schools, 25 High Schools and 43 Higher Secondary Schools were upgraded from purely Private status to Adhoc Lumpsum-GIA status during 2018. 89 new schools and 202 staff quarters are constructed under RMSA during 2018 – 2019. For the Academic year 2018-2019, a total number of 1,07,165 school-going children in Government and Government Aided Schools were provided Free Text Books under SSA and 98,086 students under Government schools were also provided Free Uniforms under SSA. The government purchased new buses for 9 colleges, and under RUSA, 62 Assistant Professors were recruited recently, and 4 existing Colleges will be upgraded to Model Degree College at the tune of Rs.16 crores and 13 Colleges are also given Infrastructure Grants amounting Rs.26 crores.
7. It is our commitment to improve market infrastructure which would not only provide places for selling the agricultural produces within the state but also provide direct or indirect employment to a large number of people, particularly women and weaker sections of the society. Commerce Wing of the Commerce and Industries Department has undertaken construction of market infrastructures, including repair and renovation of existing infrastructures. The construction work of Market Building at New Market, Dawrpui, Aizawl with the project cost of Rs.1300 lakhs under NEC funding has been completed and the stalls inside the building will be utilised for shifting sellers at Foreign Lane, since the place is proposed for construction of Aizawl City Centre Annexe building and the construction will commence when shifting process to new Market Building is completed. Meanwhile, construction of Mission Veng Bazar Complex under NEC funding has been completed. Under Export Development Fund (EDF) financed by Ministry of Commerce & Industry, the construction for work site development and Block ‘A’ building of Trade Facilitation Centre, Lawngtlai has already completed and construction of Block ‘B’ building and Staff Quarters will be started very soon. Trade Facilitation Centre, Lawngtlai will be an important infrastructure for Act East Policy when construction of Land Custom Station at Zorinpui is completed.
In respect of border trade with Myanmar, the location for construction of ‘Border Haat’ has been identified in four places - Hnahlan, Zote, Vaphai (Saikhumphai) and Sangau (Pangkhua). Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Mode of Operation (MoO) between India and Myanmar have been duly made and signed by both parties in this regard. Joint survey for the construction of bridge over Tiau and Kolodyne rivers had also been conducted by delegates of both countries. These Border Haats will become important trade points between the two countries. Land Custom Station (LCS) Zokhawthar, the lone trade route for Mizoram with South East Asian countries, is being proposed for upgradation with full-fledged components of LCS. Construction of Trade Facilitation Centre at Tlabung, which is an important infrastructure for the border trade with Bangladesh has been completed already, and the Government of India has also proposed construction of Integrated Check Post (ICP) at four places, namely, Marpara, Tuipuibari, Silsuri and Nunsury. Construction ICP at Kawrpuichhuah is also expected to commence shortly.
8. There has been tremendous progress in the power sector during the past year. The 20MW Vankal Solar Park and 2MW Tlungvel Solar Park are expected to be completed in the next financial year, augmentation of 33/11kV Sub-Stations within Aizawl by installing higher capacity transformers is currently underway and augmentation of 132kV Sub-Station at Zuangtui by installing two 25MVA transformers at the cost of Rs.703.42 lakh has been completed and will be commissioned very soon.
It is also noteworthy that Mizoram has become the first among the states of North East India to successfully complete implementation of SAUBHAGYA (Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana) with a target of 25,755 household electrification. Under Rural Electricity Distribution Backbone Scheme, new 33/11kV Sub-Stations are being constructed in six villages, namely, Rabung, Khawlailung, Mualthuam North, Tawipui North, Bualpui NG and Phura. Under the same scheme, a 189 kilometre-long 33kV line and 85.63 kilometre 11kV line have been constructed and 12 existing Sub-Stations are also being augmented.
9. Sustainable urban development is one of the top priorities of the government and to achieve this, the government has been vigorously working on various fronts such as urban governance, urban planning, urban transportation and mobility and urban poverty alleviation. In order to ease traffic congestion in Aizawl, a new scheme called PAHOSS (Parking House Support Scheme) has been launched recently, which envisages eventual decongestion of traffic jam in Aizawl city by providing financial assistance for construction of parking lots. Rs. 60 crore has been allocated for this purpose and more fund will continue to be allocated depending on the number of applications received and eligibility as per PAHOSS Guidelines. The vision of the Aizawl Smart City Mission is to make Aizawl an inclusive, sustainable, resilient and liveable city by leveraging its human capital through technology and celebrating its vibrant culture and nature. The total capital cost of the project is Rs.2053.01 crores which will to be financed through Smart City Fund, Swatch Bharat Mission(Urban), AMRUT, PMAY, NULM and NLCPR, etc.
With a view to making Aizawl a ‘Plastic Free City’ from 2nd October this year, the Aizawl Municipal Corporation(AMC) has recently passed the ‘AMC Solid Waste Management Bye-Laws, 2019’. Besides this, the AMC is implementing several Projects under AMRUT Scheme and has also initiated preparation of DPRs of 15 Major Projects within the Municipal Area, including Construction of Fly-Over at Bawngkawn Junction and Vaivakawn Junction, and Bus Terminal at Chaltlang etc. The AMC is also in a digitisation mode and in the process of implementing E-Governance for their office files as well.
10. Rapid improvements are being made in augmenting drinking water supply and sanitation in Mizoram, due to concerted efforts by the concerned departments and communities. Mizoram has already been declared the 13th Open Defecation Free (ODF) State in India last year and efforts are underway to make Mizoram one of the cleanest states in the country. The PHED has achieved success in various fronts during the past one year. The Department is putting up continuous efforts to make all towns fully covered with water supply. The PHED has provided 4235 House Water Connections and collected Rs.4479.56 lakh revenue from House Water ConnectionS against the targeted sum of Rs.4320 lakh during 2018-2019.
11. Mizoram, being part of the young mountain-chain fold of the Himalayas, is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, cyclones, landslides, cloudbursts, floods etc. and hence, the topography is immature and very vulnerable. Since the state falls under the direct influence of the South-West monsoon, it receives huge amount of rainfall during the rainy seasons and we have been rocked by landslides and floods during the monsoon season which has resulted in loss of valuable lives and properties every year. Department of Disaster Management and Rehabilitation is responsible for response, relief and preparedness for natural and man-made disasters. As such, Mock Drills were regularly conducted at the State, District and Community levels as well as in offices and schools, to test the status of preparedness levels of the community and to generate awareness among the masses. A total of 200 volunteers in four batches were given training at Central Training Institute, Sesawng and State Training Centre, Tanhril last year. The DPR for restoration of NH-54 and Mitigation works at Hunthar Land Sinking Area has been approved and Rs.15 crore for this will soon be released by Ministry of Home Affairs.
12. Agriculture and allied sectors are considered the mainstay of our economy, their contribution in terms of providing employment to a large majority of the workforce has been critical in maintaining livelihoods especially in the rural areas. Various measures are taken to enhance the capacity of farmers to increase production throughout the year. Under Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanisation (SMAM), farm machines and tools were distributed to farmers at subsidized rates and over 200 tractors and 1500 power tillers have been distributed to farmers at subsidized rates so far.
13. Horticulture Department has taken up cultivation of vegetables in cluster mode which resulted in increased production of off-season vegetables especially tomato and cabbage which further provides better income for the farmers. Under MIDH, area expansion scheme of vegetable cultivation of off-season cabbage was taken up achieving production of 6080 qtls approximately, generating an approximate income of about Rs.302.00 lakhs. Also, 2944 qtls of off-season tomato was produced, which enabled the farmers to earn an income of Rs 117.00 lakhs approximately.
14. With its congenial climatic condition, Mizoram is home to all sericigenous insects with different host plants like Mulberry, Eri, Muga and Oak Tasar that grow naturally in the state. Presently, 5716 acres of land is covered under Silkworm food plantation throughout the state, involving 5651 farmers in 209 villages. Development of Eri-Sericulture for the Upliftment of Aspirational District at Mamit was one of the four Sericulture projects launched by Union Minister of Textiles earlier this year, and this will help 500 beneficiaries for the development of Ericulture in Mizoram. Sericulture Department, Mizoram also received an award for outstanding performance - ‘Best NERTPS Projects Implementing State Award’ - from the Ministry of Textiles in February this year.
15. The Animal Husbandry & Veterinary sector remains an important sector in the state’s economy by contributing 4% of the GSDP and 30% of the Agriculture and Allied sectors. The government is well aware of the vast field for development in Animal Husbandry sector and has taken up various measures to improve and realise its potentials. The Government of India is currently undertaking a programme on ‘Import of Pigs from UK for all N.E States’ to revive the piggery industry in the region, and the Government of Mizoram is designated as the nodal department for all the North Eastern states.
16. Mizoram has huge potential to become a model tourist destination in the North East and the Department of Tourism has made endless efforts to promote tourism in the state in a responsible and sustainable manner through inclusive growth by utilizing available resources and building new tourist infrastructures. Under Swadesh Darshan Scheme, The Department carried out the construction of Thenzawl Golf Course and Resort which is the state’s biggest tourism project at a single location. The Golf Course will be one of its kind in the North-East, featuring an 18-hole course and eco-friendly resort with 30 eco-log huts.
17. Under the Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department, advanced stocking of rice has been made for the period from May, 2019 to November, 2019 in the selected 61 supply centres across the state to avoid food shortage in remote villages, which are inaccessible during rainy season. Digitization of rations cards has been completed, which will help government in weeding out the bogus ration cards and better targeting of subsidies. 91.17% of aadhaar seeding of family rations cards has been completed at the ration card level and 73.45% at the beneficiary level, which will help identify and weed out duplicate and ineligible beneficiaries from the targeted public distribution system.
18. Construction work of Cultural Centre-cum- Auditorium at Vaivakawn is in progress with the fund of Rs.6.19 crores from NEC, Shillong and State matching share of Rs.29.13 lakhs. The project work is envisaged to be completed by September, 2019. Construction work of Cultural Centre at Bawngkawn South under Special Priority Assistance is in progress and will be completed in 2019.
19. Under NABARD RIDF Scheme, the Land Resources, Soil & Water Conservation Department has created 370 hectares of Rubber Plantation with an expenditure of Rs.311.21 lakhs. Under State Priority Project (SPP), Rigid Pavement Work, Anti-Erosion Measures for WRC and construction of Retaining Wall has been finished with an expenditure of Rs.515.39 lahks. The department also constructed 6 Rubber Plantation link-roads of 60kms in total, with an expenditure of Rs 494.01 lakhs.
20. The Department of Taxation, entrusted with mobilization of revenue for the State, contributes significantly to the State’s overall development by ensuring effective and judicious implementation of Commercial related Acts, Rules and Procedures across the crosss-section of the State. The Department collected Rs.57,888.31 lakhs of revenue against the targeted Rs.37,400 lakhs during 2018-2019. The present system of levying Value Added Tax (VAT) has now switched over to Goods & Services Tax (GST). Necessary amendment of the Constitution of India has been passed by Parliament authorizing the State Government to levy Goods & Services Tax. The Mizoram Goods & Services Tax Act & Rules, 2017 is in full swing and the revenue collection is expected to be higher than that of last year.
21. During 2018-2019, 126.84 Kms of formation cutting and 326.106 Kms of Black-topping of roads have been completed. As per MPWD Vision 2030, all the temporary bridges under Mizoram PWD will be replaced with permanent bridges by 2030. Under the World Bank Project, improvement and upgradation of Chhumkhum - Chawngte road (41.53 kms), Champhai - Zokhawthar road (27.75 kms) and TIabung - Kawrpuichhuah road (12 kms) were taken up. Under this project, all the existing single lane roads will be upgraded to 2-lane NH standard and the projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2020. Under Asian Development Bank, improvement and upgradation of Serchhip-Thenzawl-Buarpui Road with a length of 55.00 Kms amounting to Rs 259.20 Crores is expected to be completed in March, 2020.
22. Various measures are taken for providing welfare programmes and services to the weaker and vulnerable sections of the society. Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) to serve as a public-police interface in order to fight crime against women has been created. 199 volunteers for Aizawl and 100 volunteer for Lunglei have been selected by the Police Department and trainings for these selected women volunteers will be conducted by the Police Department.
23. Civil Works for construction of new District Court Building, Aizawl at Mizoram New Capital Complex (MINECO) Aizawl is underway with an approved estimated amount of Rs.2360 lakhs and is expected to be completed by 31st December, 2019. Construction of High Court Building at MINECO with an estimated cost of Rs.4624.12 lakhs is actively underway and construction of Judicial Quarters at Lawngtlai, Champhai, Serchhip, Siaha and Mamit are expected to be completed soon. Construction of District Court Building at Siaha is also in progress. The Mizoram Lokayukta has started functioning in full swing since its first Chairperson, Pu C.Lalsawta assumed office on 11th March, 2019.
24. Under the Special Scheme for Recruiment of Peace Accord MNF Returnees, 2018, thirteen ministerial posts that were lying vacant under GAD consisting of one post of Assistant Grade, three posts of UDC, four posts of LDC and five posts of Group ‘D’ were filled up during 2018-19 solely in favour of the families of MNF Returnees in conformance with the guidelines of the Government.
25. As reflected in the MoS signed between the Govt. of Mizoram and the Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic) on 2nd April, 2018, the Government of Mizoram is initiating steps for the rehabilitation of the underground personnel of HPC(D) hailing from the state of Mizoram as well as the related ex-gratia/rehabilitation scheme. The proposed enlargement of the establishment set-up of Sinlung Hills Council is expected to be in factual position during this current financial year 2019-20. In order to ensure free and fair elections of the Executive Members of Sinlung Hills Council, the ‘The Mizoram (Election to Sinlung Hills Council) Rules 2019’ has been enforced recently.
26. Skill Development remains a priority to the Government and the Mizoram State Skill Policy for Development & Entrepreneurship has recently been notified. For the Welfare and Social Security of workers, the Employees State Insurance Society has been formed and registered, and 1,228 workers have been sanctioned benefits under Labour Welfare Schemes during 2018-2019. New ITIs at Champhai and Serchhip are under construction and one at Kolasib is to be taken up shortly. Coaching Programmes for examinations by the UPSC and SSC have been conducted where 130 nos. and 230 nos. youths have been respectively enrolled.
27. ICT Department has been taking al necessary steps to tackle internet and mobile signal disruption throughout the state. Telecom operators have been instructed to increase the current 712 sites to additional 759 sites within the state. 227 ,obile towers are to be installed to improve mobile connectivity in remote villages, and if these, construction of 77 mobile towers are in progress and 33 mobile towers are already functional.
28. We are committed to formulate Mizoram Sports Policy for the development of talented Mizo sportsperson and the Department of Sports & Youth Services will be organizing the Mizoram State Games during the current financial year in line with National Games and the Khelo Youth Games. Jeremy Lalrinnunga won gold medal for India in weightlifting at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires, Argentina which was India's first gold medal ever. National level hockey player Lalremsiami won silver for India at the Asian Games 2018, becoming the first sportsperson from Mizoram to win an Asiad medal.
I take this opportunity to thank the NGOs, the churches and the people of Mizoram for their support and faith in our government. I believe that Mizoram is on the threshold of a crucial juncture today and we have to march forward with unflinching determination to make our beautiful state one of the most prosperous in the country. I ask all the people of Mizoram to extend their whole-hearted support this new Government, and with your support and cooperation, we will strive to make Mizoram a model state in terms of social security, peace, harmony, education and healthcare.
At today’s Independence Day Celebration, the following Awards and Prizes were distributed by the Chief Minister :
1) President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service – Pu Lalmuanpuia, Commandant, 2nd Bn MAP
2) Police Medal for Meritorious Service - Pi Lalthangliani, Inspector, PHQ leh Pu Laldingliana, Inspector, Armed Branch, 2nd IR Batallion
3) Governor’s Gold Medal: SI MC Lalhmingthanga, 2nd Bn MAP
4) Governor’s Silver Medal: Inspector V. Thawnghua, 2nd Bn MAP
5) State Award for Teachers 2019 – (i) Pu Rosiamhnuna, Headmaster, Govt Chaltlang High School, Aizawl; (ii) Pu Lalchhuanmawia, Hindi Teacher, Govt. Zemabawk Middle School, Aizawl, (iii) Pi Rochami, Headmistress, Govt. Rev. Thianga Primary School, Bethlehem Vengthlang, Aizawl
6) Independence Day 2019 Women’s Football tournament: Champion Team – Vakiria FC, Runner up – 2nd Mizo Batallion NCC, Lunglei
It was also announced at today’s function that Shri Malsawma Royte, Dy.SP, CID (SB), Aizawl was selected to be awarded with President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service while Shri Neihchungnunga, DG, CID, Aizawl and Smt. Lalmuanthangi, Inspector (M), Aizawl were selected for Police Medal for Meritorious Service. Smt. Lalhmachhuani Sailo, Inspector was selected for Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation while Shri Lalrosanga, Leading Fireman and Shri R. Roluahpuia, Fireman from Fire & Emergency Services Department were selected to receive the Fire Service Medal for Meritorious Service.
Today’s Independence Day Parade saw the participation of 32 contingents including 4 band parties. Among the 7 Armed Contingents, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize went to 90th Bn. BSF , 1st Bn. MAP and 225th Bn. CRPF respectively. Among the 7 Unarmed Contingents, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Prize Winners were 1 Mizo Bn NCC from Govt. T. Romana College; 1st Bn. MAP School Scout & Guide and 1st Bn MAP Cubs & Bulbul respectively. Among the 14 School Contingents, Nazareth Higher Secondary School, Home Mission School and Helen Lowry School contingents were awarded the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Prizes respectively. Today’s Independence Day Parade Commanders were Shri C.S. Lalrinzuala, Asst. Commandant, 5th IR Battalion and Shri C. Lalfakmawia, SDPO, Aizawl South. The 11th Nagaland Armed Police from Nagaland participated in this years Independence Day Parade, while Mizoram Police participated in the celebration at Manipur.
The Independence Day Celebration at A.R. Ground was followed by At Home programme for selected invitees, hosted by the honourable Chief Minister at Raj Bhavan.
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