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I-League 2018-19:Real Kashmir to take on Churchill Brothers in Srinagar today

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Nov 5: Amidst harsh weather, the stage is set for the first-ever I- league match in Kashmir to be played here at the Astro Turf TRC on Tuesday between the native Real Kashmir Football Club (RKFC) and Goa’s Churchill Brothers.

New to India’s top league, RKFC last week had a blistering start to the tournament, defeating defending champions Minerva Punjab in its debut game.

Being first ever club from the valley to qualify for the league, RKFC’s Scotland-based head coach, David Robertson, describes the game against Goa’s heavyweights as “historic one” for the team as well as the valley.

 

“It is our first home game and the first I-League game ever here in Kashmir. It is a huge event. It is a historic day tomorrow,” Coach Robertson said, addressing reporters during a pre-match press conference.

Facing an opponent team from a warm land, the RKFC coach hoped the cold weather would help them in the game.

“We saw that the weather has changed and it is going to be even colder, which, hopefully, will help us. It is going to be a tough game, as we are up against a very famous team of India,” he said.

“We got a good result in the last game and it is important we keep the momentum going and keep picking up points.”

Asked about his key players in the contest, Robertson said the “team effort and hard work” have been fetched them victories in the past.

“We won the last game based on hard work and team effort, and we do need the same. The players are focused. We got a good result in the last game and it is important we keep the momentum going and keep picking up points,” the RKFC coach said.

He said there would be “some pressure” on his team, which is playing the league for the first time.

“We will be able to make a team the Kashmiris will be proud of,” he said, adding that the club’s “professionalism and familiarity” has been able to contribute to the game in the valley.

“Few years back when I came here there was a lack of professionalism. But I think we have changed a lot and we have made good strides to make things little bit more professional, make players feel professional,” he said.

“There have been new facilities, the whole of Kashmir, the state, the government authority and the Kashmiri people together have all made this possible,” Robertson said.

Captain Loveday Enyinnaya, a Nigerian professional footballer, also said the players were getting used to the climate of Kashmir.

Churchil Brothers Coach, Peter Gigiu, in his pre-match address, said the team would put up a good show despite cold climate scare.

“I prefer to visit here as a tourist but not for the game. Since its first time I-league matches here so pressure factor is definitely there. The game is difficult for us and good for you (Real Kashmir FC). This is entirely a surprise for my players,” he said.

“We can handle the situation. We came here for a reason and no atmosphere can stop us from getting what we want. Still as a footballer you have to face everything,” Coach Gigiu said.

Captain of Churchill Brothers, Aldor Hussain, also hoped to continue their momentum after performing well in past two games.

Both the head coaches and captains shook their hands after addressing the pre-match press conference.

Meanwhile, the TRC Astro-turf is all set to host the match, with monitoring from the district administration to ensure facilities to the host teams.

“All arrangements have been put in place for tomorrow’s (Tuesday’s) match at the TRC Ground and we are looking forward for an exciting game,” an official of the Jammu and Kashmir Football Association (JKFA) said.


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JK’s liability swells

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Similar to previous years, Jammu and Kashmir has accrued a liability of over Rs 7,000 crore in the ongoing fiscal even as experts blame state’s political leadership for not finding a solution to the issue.

Official documents of the finance department reveal that the state is running a liability of Rs 7,531 crore so far this fiscal, a figure close to the annual build-up J&K witnesses every year.

The total liabilities for the state have now swelled up to over Rs 68,000 crore.“The three fiscal parameters–revenue deficit, fiscal deficit and outstanding liability–indicate the extent of overall fiscal balance in the finances of the state government during the specified period. The nature of deficit is an indicator of the prudence of budgetary policy of the state government. Another useful measure of the deficit-base in a state’s fiscal policy is the State’s Own Deficit (SOD),” the documents reveal.

 

Noted economist, Professor Nisar Ali said the state’s expenditure and revenue system has been “mismanaged”.“The power purchase has been an important factor for swelling liabilities. The GST has further increased the mismanagement between expenditure and tax revenue,” he said.

Prof Ali also blamed J&K’s political leadership for increasing liabilities.“The annual liabilities increase due to power purchases despite the state having huge hydro resources. The state’s leadership has failed to fight for the return of power projects.

“It also depends upon the government of India how it wants to find a solution to this problem,” he added.

Endorsing Prof Ali’s views, a senior official of the finance department said that little or no use of revenue generation avenues, increasing power purchases and bulging expenditure on salaries are the main contributors to the escalating liabilities of the state.“There is a steep rise in salary and pension bills, power deficit, rising interest liabilities, loan repayments, and deficit on account of non-tax revenue,” the official said.

 

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Conducive atmosphere inevitable for dialogue: Farooq

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) president, Dr Farooq Abdullah on Thursday said that the favourable atmosphere is inevitable for dialogue, which is the only way out to settle the issues.
Addressing party workers in Jammu, Dr Farooq said that the dialogue is the only way out to resolve the issues but there is a need of conducive atmosphere which is inevitable. He added that “under the shades of gun, no dialogue process is possible. We have to stop bullet culture for lasting peace in the region.”
“NC has also given priority to the people. When I became Chief Minister in 1996, I fought with many things as the school were shut, no bridge was there, no office was functioning as the people were frightened by the turmoil then, but I stood up to fight against the forces who were inimical to peace.”
About 35 percent reservation in other states, Dr Farooq said that the incumbent Chief Minister of Odissa, Naveen Patnayak has written to him, suggesting there should be reservation of 35 percentfor women in Jammu and Kashmir also. “We will implement the law, which will ensure 35 percent reservation to women in the State once getting into the power,” he said.
However, he said that it is not easy to take such decisions as when his government took a decision to make 50 percent reservation for girls in Medical College then some people knocked the door of Supreme Court to put halt over the decision.
Dr Farooq also appealed the party workers to work hard and ensure the win of NC leaders who will be contesting the elections.

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Abundant snowfall in January makes Gulmarg the perfect winter-destination for tourists

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Unlike last January, the abundant snowfall so far this month has attracted a lot of tourists to Gulmarg as the destination is brimming with over 90 per cent occupancy these days.

The valley has received at least four moderate to heavy snowfalls this year with an even stronger wet spell predicted from January 19 to 23.
Tourists from across the world are cherishing this and making their way to Gulmarg, whose slopes offer a perfect destination for skiing.

Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, CEO Gulmarg Development Authority, Syed Hanief Balkhi said that most of the hotels are fully occupied as people are heading to Gulmarg to enjoy the charismatic scenery offered by the snow-covered hills.“Gulmarg is under 4-5 feet snow and is looking like a playground these days. Tourists from India and abroad enjoy skiing, snow cycling, ice skating, snow-sculptor activity, sledge-racing and other games here,” he said.

 

Apart from the hoteliers, the rush of the tourists, Balkhi said, has provided good workdays for sledge keepers, skating guides, local cab drivers and many others associated with tourism.

In 2018, as per the official figures, Gulmarg received 5.76 lakh tourists as compared to 5.69 lakh in the preceding year.

The tourism players also expressed satisfaction over the rush of tourists heading to the valley.

President Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation, Wahid Malik said that snowfalls have pushed up the number of tourists visiting the valley.
“Gulmarg saw lesser arrival when winters begun, however, now the snow has ensured all the hotels and resorts are booked,” he said adding that Gulmarg hotels are running on 90 per cent occupancy so far this season.

Gulmarg is declared the ‘heartland of winter sports in India’ by the Winter Games Federation. This year too, Gulmarg Tourism Authority is going to organise winter sports carnival starting from the first week of February.

Additional Director Tourism Department, Nasir Khan said that Gulmarg is “rocking these days as it has received 34,712 and 35,022 tourists in the month of November and December”.

“We are going to organize the winter carnival from the next month to make the place more attractive,” he said.

He added that night market and cultural shows will also be arranged by the department.

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