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Real Kashmir eyes first home win against Neroca today

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Nov 10: After the captivating debut by Real Kashmir Football Club (RKFC) on its home turf in the I-League, the confident team is looking forward to its upcoming matches.
A resounding start boosting their confidence in the maiden season, RKFC will seek their first win at home when they take on Manipur’s Neroca FC in an I-League match here on Sunday.
Real Kashmir began their debut season by beating defending champions Minerva Punjab 1-0 in Panchkula but the Srinagar-based side were denied a dream start at home with Churchill Brothers holding them to a goal-less draw.
Scottish coach David Robertson will rue the fact that his team could not pull off a win at home despite their opponents playing with 10 men for the entire second half. Over-dependence on Ivorian striker Gnohere Krizo, who netted the winner against Minerva, was observed and coach Robertson might look to correct that at the TRC ground on Sunday.
Real Kashmir’s four-man back line led by the coach’s son Mason Robertson and captain Loveday Okechukwu looked dependable, but more impetus needs to come from the midfield, where the likes of Zambian Aaron Katebe and Ivorian Bazie Armand will have to do better than the previous game.
Goalkeeper Bilal has kept a clean sheet till now and has brought about some very good saves, which would be handy against an attack-minded Neroca side.
A win will put Real Kashmir level on points with table toppers Chennai City FC.
“We are excited for tomorrow. It will be a new experience, a new challenge and a tough game. Our players are confident facing a new team all over again. There is no pressure but we want to make sure we don’t disappoint our spectators. We are a hard-working team overall, and I have full faith on my team to give their best on the pitch,” said coach Robertson at pre-match media conference.
Neroca FC are still in search of their first victory in what will be their fourth game of the season. They have drawn two and lost one till now.
Neroca’s worries stem from their misfiring forwards and the only goal they have scored so far in the campaign has come from central defender Eduardo Ferriera of Brazil, who missed their previous game against Aizawl after picking up an injury in warm up.
Singham Subash Singh, who scored four times in their debut campaign last year, has lost his place in the starting eleven. Nigerian Felix Chidi, who had seven goals last year, has also not opened his account this season.
It remains to be seen if Japanese winger Katsumi Yusa, who also went out with an injury in the opener against East Bengal, and Eduardo, are fit and back for service.
Speaking before the game, Neroca FC coach Manuel Retamero Fraile said, “We want three points from Kashmir, that’s more important for us. We have time to improve our mistakes. My team is working good and we will look forward to score goals.
“It’s cold here but that’s not an issue for us. We have to be focused on our game plan. We will enjoy the game and we hope we have a good crowd tomorrow, for us as well as for the home side.


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Lead Stories

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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