Vijayawada: More than Rs 200 crores are riding on the cockfights across Andhra Pradesh.

This is despite the court orders and police warning against organizing cockfights in the state,

Leaders of the YSR Congress Party inaugurated cockfights in East Godavari, West Godavari, and Krishna districts of Andhra Pradesh.

YSR MLA of Kothapeta Chirla Jaggireddy and TDP MLA of Undi Mantena Ramaraju inaugurated the cockfights in the East Godavari district

Punters including businessmen and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) visited cockfights rinks in the three districts and placed bets worth crores of rupees

At few places in East and West Godavari districts, the cockfights were organized without knives being tied to the legs of the roosters.

Organizers said that cockfights have been part of Telugu culture for centuries. They claimed that such tourneys have been organized during the Sankranti festival.

Wads of new currency notes could be seen in the hands of organizers and punters. Well-trained cocks with small knives attached to their legs fought amid cheers by hundreds of spectators. The fight often ends with the death of one of the two birds.

Tents and fences were pitched in fields and organizers made large scale arrangements for the cockfights. The bird lovers have long been fighting for a ban on the cockfight to prevent cruelty to animals.

All the attempts by the police and court orders to stop cockfights proved futile as the public representatives, irrespective of their party affiliations, openly supported it on the grounds that it is a part of Telugu culture.

The fighting roosters, whose prices range from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 2 lakh, were sold like hot cakes in farms in Ravulapalem, Bhimavaram, Undi and various other places in the Konaseema region.

The prices are fixed by the farm owners based on the species and its color. The most popular species for the rooster fights are 'Myla', 'Rasangi', 'Kaki', 'Dega', 'Poola', 'Kodikaki', 'Kakinemali', Teethuva'. Pachchakaki' and 'Kakinemali' are considered the most powerful and prize-winning of them all.

The rooster fights took place in more than 50 big arenas and another 200 medium arenas, besides thousands of small grounds in both Godavari and Krishna districts. Last year around Rs. 600 crore were at stake.

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