Kakinada: Despite police warnings, cockfights began on a grand scale in the two Godavari districts, the epicentre of the blood sport, on Bhogi, the first day of the Sankranti festivities, on Tuesday. The organisers set up the arenas with iron meeshes and started the cockfights.
In West Godavari, the first cockfight began at Ponduru village and then opened at 10 important places like I. Bhimavaram, Vempa, Achanta and Palakollu. It then opened in Pothukonda and Dandangi in Devipatnam mandal, Panasapadu in Samalkot mandal, Chidiga, Ganganapalli and Kovvada in Kakinada Rural mandal.
It is said that card games and gundata, were not permitted by the police. It is said that gamblers paid organisers to set up the games, and they promised to get permission from the authorities.
According to sources, a minimum of Rs 1 crore was bet on the cockfights. The organisers collected Rs 2 akh to Rs 3 lakh per ground to allow the games.
Bhimavaram tahasildar Alladi Venkata Ramana said that as per the High Court orders and the district collector’s instructions, nobody should organise cockfights, gambling or sell liquor without getting permission. He convened a meeting with police, Excise, revenue and panchayat raj department officials on Tuesday. Excise officials said that the persons should not be carrying more than three bottles of liquor and they should buy liquor at licenced government shops only.
Many businessmen, industrialists and software engineers thronged to West Godavari, especially in Bhimavaram, to participate in the cockfights. According to sources, all lodges and service apartments were occupied and latecomers were searching for a place to stay....