Sell paddy in Punjab's 'mandis', get a lottery ticket

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Moga, Nov 26 (UNI) The Punjab Mandi Board has introduced a farmers lottery scheme so as to motivate farmers to bring their entire kharif and rabi produce in the 'mandis' (grain markets).

This lottery scheme would involve distributing a sum of Rs 3.70 crore to the lucky draw winners at the end of every paddy and wheat season. This scheme would only cover the farmers who sell their produce in the 'mandis'.

With this scheme the Board hopes to increase its income through market fee and development fund, Mandi Board Chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said here today.

Mr Lakhowal has directed the Chairpersons of all the 145 market committees of the State to earmark a sum of Rs 2.55 lakh each in each kharif and rabi season for this scheme.

After each Rabi and Kharif season lucky draws will be taken out at all the market committees. The first prize would be of Rs 50,000, then there will be three second prizes of Rs 35,000 each and five third prizes of Rs 20,000 each.

The first such lucky draw function will be held here in the month of January next year.

Under the scheme a farmer will get one coupon from the market committee for every 50 quintal of his produce sold in the 'mandi'.

The Mandi Board has decided to get printed about 1.50 lakh coupons at a cost of Rs 10 crore for this scheme.

Mr Lakhowal hoped that with the introduction of the scheme, farmers would stop selling their produce to private traders or millers and would also not holdback their stocks. For the time being the scheme will be limited for paddy and wheat, he added while hoping to extend it to other crops including cotton.

Mr Lakhowal observed that by taking various measures to check theft and evasion of market fee, the Board's income increased by 47 per cent in this fiscal year. It increased from Rs 346.45 crore to Rs 508.85 crore.

UNI XC-HS MMS1611

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