KAKINADA: Contrary to perceptions, a last-minute surge is witnessed in sale of Prize Cocks as a prelude to the three-day Sankranti festival beginning Wednesday. In spite of the Covid-19 situation and less of money supply, punters are getting set for the traditional cockfight sport.
Heavy betting is unlikely because of non-arrival of well-heeled software engineers, cine actors etc this time due to travel restrictions. Growers of fighter cocks are worried prize cocks might not fetch good money this time. “Yet, there is a sudden surge in sales in the past two days. Many have done the purchase at the rate of Rs.10,000 to Rs.50,000 per cock,” a source said.
This year, there is more enthusiasm in East Godavari compared to West Godavari that was usually on top in organising cockfights. Youths in East Godavari are more enthused because of the much-trumpeted campaign for cockfights there; and they are already going in for betting.
According to sources, a huge ground was being readied in Kesanakurru in Konaseema. Two prominent communities are participating in the cockfight on Wednesday and Thursday. A community from Konaseema area and another from Kakinada will reach the village to participate in the traditional sport.
They are reportedly planning 20 contests a day and the betting range may be between Rs.10,000 and Rs 3 lakh.
Many communities will go for co-betting with bigwig punters. Cockfight grounds are being prepared at Kandrakota, Vetlapalem, G. Medapadu, Madhavapatnam, Achampet in limited numbers.
A general feeling is that the government may allow cockfights as freely this time as in the past. But, the government is still vigorously campaigning against the blood-letting sport. “The Telugu Desam and the YSRC are conducting cockfights separately. This is fine. The government is implementing welfare schemes without political bias. Hence, why should we create any hindrance to the TD cadre vis-a-vis organising cockfights,’’ a former MLA of the YSRC reasoned.
He said no government can stop the cockfight as it is a matter of prestige to local leaders. “Local body elections would be held this year. If the government does not support this traditional sport, the ruling party may face reverses in the elections,’’ he said.
Some ruling party workers in Undi constituency met their party leader and asked about the government stand on cockfights. The leader assured them that this may be allowed for three days and the cadre need not worry over this in West Godavari district.
Meanwhile, demand for cock-knives’ has increased. Many of these knives had been seized by the police in East and West Godavari districts in the past 20 days as part of a drive against cockfight sport. Now, price of the knives has gone up. Gamblers playing cards, Gundata and others are also getting ready to go places for the cockfight.