Does the rising tension between big lottery distributors and small-scale agents over the scarcity of lottery tickets point to the illegal outflow of tickets to the neighbouring states?
The sales figures of seven draws of tickets this week showed Palakkad has sold 28,05,000 tickets followed by Thrissur (27,71,000) and Ernakulam(24,20,000).
“Only half of the 4,100 registered agents in the district are active and it is very unlikely that they are selling all these tickets. Therefore a strict vigil needs to be kept at railway stations and bus stands to prevent the outflow of the tickets,” said Krishnadas Peralikalam, a lottery agent from Vadakkencherry. “Recently, the agents waylaid a mini vehicle with Pollachi registration near the Municipal bus stand after a person from Tamil Nadu bought tickets worth `18,000,” said K M Biju, Circle Inspector of the North police station.
Mahesh, a differently-abled agent who sells lottery tickets near the KSRTC bus stand, said the lottery office used to deny tickets to small-scale agents, saying there was no enough staffers to disburse the tickets.
He said the big distributors used to lift lottery tickets in bulk and give only a small portion to the retailers who are mostly differently-abled people.
“Now a token system has been introduced. The tokens are given every Tuesday and Friday. The agents camp outside the lottery office with bed sheets and mosquito coils, waiting for the office to open at 4 am on Tuesday. The agents who were given 75 tickets per week are now given 125 tickets after they protested,” he said.
Krishnadas further said that four lakh tickets of a particular draw used to be sold to wholesalers, whereas small-scale agents got only 70,000 tickets. But after protests, he said, the situation has improved.
Lottery officer H Abdul Kareem said the district had long been recording the highest sales in the state. “A government order has been issued to cut 15 percent of the large distributors’ quota and give it to the small-scale agents. Therefore, we introduced the token system. A token holder gets tickets within three days,” said Kareem.
Another lottery agent, Kuttikrishnan, said a large number of vendors from Tamil Nadu were staying in lodges in the district. The distributors prefer to sell the tickets to these vendors from Tamil Nadu as they don’t demand the counterfoil which entitles them to a commission of Rs 10 lakh on a prize money of Rs 1 crore, he alleged.
Kareem said that except for Karunya, all tickets allotted to Palakkad and Thrissur districts are sold out in full every week.