July 14, 2024

Anantapur: With the establishment of new Sri Sathya Sai Districts, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure the sanctity of Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi.

Prasanthi Nilayam is an international spiritual centre that has attracted devotees from over 135 countries across the world since the time of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Alcohol and non-vegetarian food are prohibited here and even foreign devotees strictly adhere to this prohibition during their stay at Prasanthi Nilayam.

The state government followed suit by banning liquor and non-vegetarian food in the spiritual capital of Puttaparthi, a ban that has been strictly enforced so far, even though the majority of the town’s residents are non-believers. Most of the residents are migrants, traders and other sections who have permanently settled in Puttaparthi and the surrounding areas.

The ban is said to have been initiated by the then Tourism Minister J. Geeta Reddy, a staunch devotee of Sai Baba. She passed an order banning liquor and non-vegetarian food within eight kilometres of Prasanthi Nilayam. As a result, all restaurants in the area serve only vegetarian food.

The prohibited zone also includes the Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, about eight kilometres from Prasanthi Nilayam.

With Puttaparthi designated as the new district headquarters of Sri Sathya Sai, implementation of the ban is finding it difficult.
Not surprisingly, hundreds of families belonging to state government officers, officials and staff have migrated to Puttaparthi after being allotted new districts. The influx of new population is making it difficult for authorities to enforce the ban on liquor and non-vegetarian food in Puttaparthi town.

Mohan, a resident of Puttaparthi, said that even when the town was not the district centre, it was difficult to enforce the ban. After it became the district centre, the influx of people into the town made it difficult to enforce a similar ban.

Alcohol is reportedly being sold in some parts of the town, making it difficult for authorities to control it.

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