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I-League: Bazou scores again for snow leopards

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Dec 5: Hopes rekindled in the valley’s football fans, as Real Kashmir Football Club on Wednesday bounced back in the I-League with their third win. They defeated former champions Aizawal FC 1:0.

Like in their previous game against Indian Arrows, Snow leopards overpowered their opponents on the ground before the fans numbering in thousands.

With this win, Real Kashmir FC (RKFC), the first football club from the valley to attain to play prestigious I- League, jumped to fourth position in the league with 10 points.

 

Ever since the game started, the enthusiasm of the crowd ceased to slow down.

Ecstatic football freaks all over the stadium jumped in jubilation when Real Kashmir FC’s Nagen Tamang got a chance to hit the football into the goal post.

For the match, Head Coach David Robertson made a bold decision to choose new recruit Abed Kofi Tetteh in place of Aaron Katebe to add more firepower in the attacking department.

Similarly, Aizawal FC Head Coach, Gift Raikhan, replaced Joe Zoherliana in deep defense with Nigerian Kareem Nurain, who made a comeback after an injury lay-off.

The hosts began the game on an attacking note when Nagen Tamang floated a delightful cross from the flanks towards the far post for Surchandra Singh, but the latter could only find the side-netting from close range.

Aizawl had an equal chance in the 25th minute when midfielder Albert Zohmingmawia’s cross from the right was blocked by Real Kashmir FC Goalkeeper Bilal Khan.

Real Kashmir FC did not have to wait long for their eventual winner when Bazie Armand rose the tallest inside the six-yard box to get his head to a corner floated in by midfielder Surchandra Singh.

Aizwala FC goalkeeper Gurpreet Chahal failed to punch away and Paul Ramfangzauva could not time his jump to prevent Armand from heading the ball.

Aizawl started to show more urgency after falling behind but was not able to produce the final ball, which could trouble the hosts.

An equal show was displayed by host’s Mason Robertson and captain Loveday Okechukwu as who kept Aizwal FC’s Leonce Dodoz and Ansumana Kromah at bay for the entire opening 45 minutes.

For the home side, Krizo got some of the chances in the second half particularly two free-headers, one off a cross from Kofi and another in the 82nd minute off a free-kick, which he missed to their marks.

Aizwal FC in the second half got a few chances especially in 86th minute of the game when the net was empty.

Additional five minutes were given in which both the teams unsuccessfully attempted to score goals.

For several minutes after the match, the winning team stayed in the ground to thank the spectators for their support.

Soon after the match was called off, ecstatic football fans cheered up for the winning team amid noise of fire crackers and pom-pom.

A standing ovation was given to the Man of the Match, Bazie Armand, by the spectators.

“We knew that Real Kashmir FC will win the match. They have performed well in the previous matches as well but results were good now,” said Muhammad Amin a football fan who had come from Baramulla to watch the game.

David Robertson said the performances throughout the league so far has depicted the strength of the team.

“We missed something in the earlier stages. Now Kofi’s entry has yielded results today. We played better and equally defended in the second half. I think we deserved the win,” he said.

Robertson said the support of the home crowd equally boosted his players to perform better.

Aizawal FC Head Coach, Gift Raikhan, said his team couldn’t convert some of the open chances into goals.

“Result was not good today though we played good football. There were some open chances for us, but Real Kashmir FC played fantastically well. They played long goals which benefitted them,” he 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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