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

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

The scheme will involve distributing a sum of Rs 3.70 crore to the lucky draw winners at the end of every paddy and wheat season.

It will 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 the scheme.

After each rabi and kharif season, lucky draws will be taken out at all the market committees. The first prize will be of Rs 50,000, with 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 January next year.

Under the sceme, 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 the scheme.

Mr Lakhowal hoped that with the introduction of the scheme, farmers will stop selling their produce to private traders or millers and will also not holdback their stocks.

For the time being, the scheme will be limited for paddy and wheat, he said 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, from Rs 346.45 crore to Rs 508.85 crore.

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