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Bhimavaram Cockfights Braving Demonetization

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Each year, hundreds of crores of rupees exchange hands during the month-long cock fights in Bhimavaram and the surrounding villages of West Godavari.

With Narendra Modi’s announcement on demonetisation, there has been a huge speculation that the cockfights will take a death blow this year due to lack of money. But surprisingly, the ground-level reports from West Godavari show a totally opposite scenario.

Even before a month for the Sankranthi festivities to begin, several villages in West Godavari are already brimming with the commencement of cockfights and lakhs of rupees being exchanged, even braving the strict vigil of the police department.

The madness is such that during a recent raid, police recovered nearly 3.31 lakh rupees from the gamblers of a small cockfight racket. This is a clear indication the the main cockfights during the festival holidays will see an inflow of hundreds of crores.

Already, the cockfight organisers have reserved several rooms in Bhimavaram town for participants and guests who will throng the town from various places of the country and even paid nearly 1 crore in advance.

Last year, the fighter cocks fetched Rs.5,000 to Rs.50,000. This year, gamblers are not thinking twice to splurge anywhere between Rs.10,000 to 60,000 depending on the breed of the rooster. As per the preliminary estimations, nearly Rs.350-400 crores are expected to exchange hands during next Sankranthi.

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