Special Correspondent

To raise money for distress relief fund

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Friday inaugurated the sale of tickets of Santhvanam, a special lottery being conducted by the State Government to raise money for the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund.

He urged everyone to participate in the venture which was aimed at providing relief to the needy. There were thousands of people who were suffering from serious ailments but did not have the wherewithal for treatment. The number of persons killed in accidents was on the increase. Their families were left in the lurch. Whatever help was possible should be extended to them. Accidents also left many injured and physically challenged. The families of farmers who committed suicide, the victims of Endosulphan spraying in plantations, the families of those who died of fever in Alappuzha and the families of those killed in the Thattekad boat tragedy were among the sections which had to be helped.

Assistance was given to around 5,000 persons after the present Government assumed office, he said. Many applications were awaiting action. More people should come forward with contributions. Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac presided. The Government proposed to intensify the sale of lottery tickets in a constitutional manner and as per the directives of the Supreme Court. He urged all sections to make it a rousing success.

The price of a ticket of the lottery is Rs.25. The first prize is of Rs.50 lakh and the second prize of Rs.5 lakh. The draw will take place on May 1.