MNF govt plans to renew suspended lottery contracts: Lalduhoma - TIMES OF MIZORAM

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MNF govt plans to renew suspended lottery contracts: Lalduhoma

MNF lotteryAIZAWL, April 5: The Mizo National Front (MNF), which had vehemently protested last year against the scandalous Mizoram lottery contracts, is now showing keen interest in renewing the lotteries, Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) leader Lalduhoma alleged today. Addressing a press conference at the ZPM office, he said, “We all know that the MNF had alleged irregularities in the State lotteries. MNF workers had even picketed the Directorate of Institutional Finance and State Lottery in Aizawl. As a result, the Congress government suspended all lottery draws on July 9, 2018.” 

Now, the MNF government is showing keen interest in lotteries, and is intent on renewing contracts with the same agents it had severely criticised during the Congress government, Lalduhoma said. He said that the State Lottery Committee (SLC) was convened on March 15, where it was decided to renew the agreement with the agents whose contracts had been cancelled by the Congress government. 

The period of the proposed agreement is till September 2019, and can be extended after negotiations with the distributors, Lalduhoma said, adding that the agreement is being drafted with the aim to extend the contract period in the first place. Of the four distributors, M/ s E-Cool Gaming Solutions has withdrawn, as a result of which its share of six draws will be distributed among the remaining three distributors. The proposal has been approved by the Chief Minister, he said. 

Lalduhoma said that as the contracts with the four distributors had been cancelled by the Congress government, they cannot be renewed. “If the MNF government is keen on renewing lottery draws, it must float fresh tenders. Selection of distributors without tenders is illegal, and there were Supreme Court rulings against that. Moreover, the MNF government is prevented by the model code of conduct from taking such action,” he said. “By showing favouritism to the same distributors it had condemned, the MNF shows that it does not have any principle and is starting off on the path of corruption,” Lalduhoma said. 

It may be recalled that in July 2018, the then Congress government had suspended all State lottery draws by the four distributors – as well as delayed the process of floating a new tender – following a month of protests by the then opposition MNF that alleged crony capitalism and corruption in the lottery industry. 

There were four distributors under the Mizoram State Lottery. While paper lottery was sold by Teesta Distributors, online lottery was sold by three distributors – Summit Online Trade Solution, NV International and E-Cool Gaming Solutions. The MNF had alleged that the State government had incurred losses amounting to Rs 11,808.77 crore because of the lottery scam. ~Assam Tribune

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