For years, painter Vijayan and his family of wife and three children in Kerala’s Idukki district have been wanting to vacate their crumbling home atop a remote hill and move to a safer location where they would have access to safe drinking water and a motorable path for emergencies. And now, courtesy of his son Anandu, lady luck has dawned on the family, paving the way for their dreams to come true.
Twenty-four-year-old Anandu Vijayan, who’s employed with a temple administration in Kochi, is the lucky winner of this year’s mega jackpot worth Rs 12 crore of the Thiruvonam Bumper Lottery of the state government. His ticket number TB173964, purchased from a lottery seller named Alagar Swami in Kochi’s Kadavanthra neighbourhood, won the jackpot prize. After the deduction of GST and the lottery agent’s commission, Anandu is poised to get Rs 7.56 crores credited to his bank account from the lottery department.
Anandu told a local news channel that he didn’t have a habit of purchasing lottery tickets frequently. In fact, on the day of the draw, he didn’t check to see if his ticket won up until evening as he never thought he would win, let alone a jackpot prize. While he had bought the ticket from Kochi, his father had bought another ticket costing Rs 300 from Kattappana in Idukki.
Vijayan, back home in Idukki district’s Valiya Thovala, told the local Mathrubhumi news channel that he was at first nervous and tensed when his son relayed the news that they had won the jackpot prize. “We never thought in our dreams that we would win. God has blessed us,” he said.
“I hope to buy a ten-cent plot and build a house somewhere below the hill where we can get access to the drinking water supply. During the lockdown, we had to spend a huge amount of money to get water. There’s no motorable path leading to this house as well,” he added.
While Vijayan goes for daily-wage painting jobs, his wife Suma is an employee at a textile shop. Besides Anandu, the couple have a son, who’s doing a part-time job after graduation, and a daughter, who lost her job at a private firm in Kochi due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We want to educate our children further. Anandu wanted to go for a post-graduate degree but dropped his plans due to our financial situation. I hope he can study further,” Suma told the channel.
The Kerala government runs a slew of seasonal and daily lotteries which are extremely popular among the public and help shore up non-tax revenues for the administration. The lottery department was set up in 1967 and since its inception, it is one of the few government departments to have never recorded losses.
The first lottery ticket in 1967 was sold for Re 1 and carried a top cash prize of Rs 50,000. The department has grown from a revenue of Rs 20 lakhs in 1967-68 to nearly Rs 9000 crores in 2017-18. Today, it sells the major Thiruvonam, Vishu, Puja, Monsoon, Summer bumper tickets along with daily-draw categories such as Akshaya, Sthree Shakti, Karunya, and Pournami.
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