Godavari: Despite the court orders and police warnings, cockfights began in several parts of East Godavari and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh on Monday as a part of the Sankranti festival celebrations. The cockfights will continue till January 16 and crores of rupees were bet on them.
The punters from parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and few Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) witnessed the blood sport and bet crores of rupees to test their luck.
YSR Congress Party MP from Narsapuram, K Raghurama Krishnam Raju inaugurated the traditional cockfights (cockfights without knives attached to the feet of the roosters, popularly known as Dinky Cockfights) at Bhimavaram in West Godavari district on Monday.
Though the MP inaugurated the Dinky Cockfights, hundreds of cockfights were held with sharp blades tied to the legs of the fighting roosters.
The Bhimivaram in West Godavari is the ultimate destination for the urbane connoisseurs of cockfighting from Bengaluru, Chennai, Vijayawada, Vizag, Hyderabad and a few other Cities and Towns.
More than 80 dusty baris (battlefields or cockfights arenas) have been set up in two Godavari districts, particularly in Akividu in East Godavari and Bhimavaram in West Godavari district.
K Prakash Kumar, a punter from Vizag, who went to Bhimavaram for betting said that in 2019, over Rs700 crore betting had taken place across the state and over 60 percent of the Rs700 crore took place in only Bhimavaram. Now, it would cross over Rs900 crore in 2020 in Andhra Pradesh, he added.
The demand for the fighting roosters, which are trained and fed cashews nuts, almonds and beer along with some other roosters has increased this year and each fighting rooster's price is ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh. Online sales of roosters will also take place from the beginning of New Year.
The prices of the fighting roosters are fixed by the farm owners based on the variety and colour of the bird.
K Srinivas, a punter and also a trainer of the roosters in East Godavari district said that the names of the roosters indicate their fighting skills and ability and many believe that Kaaki Dega and Dega cocks are more ferocious.
There are over 20 varieties of the fighting roosters such as Kaaki,Setu, Nallamachala Setu,Parla,Savala,Nalla Savala, Kokkirayi,Dega, Nemali, Kowju, Myla,Poola, Telupu Gowdu, Yerupu Gowdu, Pingali, Nallabora and Yerrapoda.
Majority of the punters strongly believe that Kaaki, Dega and Kaaki Naemali cocks are very popular for cockfights and prefer to purchase those breeds for cockfights citing that they jump well and attack their opponents very strategically and never backs off says V Ganesh Ganesh Kumar, who sell fighting roosters and also puts bets on the cockfights in Godavari district.
The organizers said that punters are investing around Rs 50 lakh on each fight in Godavari districts. Thousands of the spectators are visiting the battlefields to witness the cockfights.
Though the police managed to prevent the cockfights at few places in Godavari districts, they remained silent spectators at many places due to the political support to the cockfights.