Roosters ruling the roost in Godavari districts; each bet soars up to Rs 3 cr

People from Rayalaseema, Andhra Pradesh, and some parts of Telangana are reportedly purchasing Peruvian roosters for Rs 2-3 lakh for arranging Sankranti fights


VIJAYAWADA: As Sankranti approaches, numerous villages in the Godavari and coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh are preparing for cockfights. Crores of rupees are expected to change hands during the three-day festival. The cost of fighting roosters has surged by over 30 per cent this year due to increased demand, with a high-quality breed now fetching anywhere between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 3 lakh. The payments too are done through digital wallets to avoid the risk of being traced.

This year's cockfights would feature a fierce battle between the exotic Peruvian double-crossed rooster and the traditional Aseel, the fighting bird native to Andhra Pradesh. Breeders in parts of East and West Godavari, Krishna, and Guntur districts reportedly feed steroids and aphrodisiacs like viagra to enhance the birds' performance in the highly anticipated cockfights.

Illegal cockfight arenas are springing up in interior areas, where trained roosters engage in a fight to the death, attracting onlookers who bet on the outcomes during the Sankranti festival.

Also Read: Godavari districts decked up for cockfights ahead of Sankranti

A breeder in the Godavari region mentioned that Peruvian roosters were highly skilled and hyper-active fighters. People from Rayalaseema, Andhra Pradesh, and some parts of Telangana are reportedly purchasing these Peruvian roosters for Rs 2-3 lakh for arranging Sankranti fights.

Given that 2024 is an election year, political leaders are expected to promote cockfights to win favor with the public. This year, the minimum bet for each game is not less than Rs 3 crore in the Godavari region, reaching up to Rs 15 crore, depending on the number of punters involved.

An estimated Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 crore is wagered on cockfights during the three-day Sankranti festival in the State. The festival starts on January 14 with Bhogi and concludes on January 16 or 17 according to an organiser of cockfights in the Godavari region.

Andhra Pradesh High Court had recently directed the State Government and police to ensure the implementation of a previous order preventing illegal cockfights during the Sankranti festival.

Cockfights, considered a major spectacle and cherished tradition in many villages in Andhra Pradesh, involve two trained roosters fitted with sharp blades on their legs fighting to the death or until one retreats. Thousands, including politicians, NRIs, software professionals, and youngsters, participate in the frenzied events, betting substantial amounts on their chosen roosters.

Also Read: Humane Society urges citizens to report cockfighting, calls for compassion

Experts estimate that around Rs 2,000 crore would change hands through betting during the three-day Sankranti festivities. Various breeds of fighting roosters are present in Andhra Pradesh, but there is a significant demand for the Kaaki Dega, Dega and Kaaki Nemali breeds.

Cockfights represent a substantial business, with hotels filling up in Godavari districts, Krishna, and Guntur. Mid-size hotels charge anywhere between Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000 per day for each room. Liquor shops and eateries selling biryani also experience a boost in business in cockfight areas.

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