ANANTAPUR: It is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure sanctity of Prasanthi Nilayam in Puttaparthi with formation of the new Sri Satya Sai district.
Prasanthi Nilayam has been an international spiritual centre, which has attracted devotees from more than 135 countries across the globe right from the time of Sri Satya Sai Baba.
There has been a ban on liquor and non-vegetarian at the place, with even the foreign devotees strictly adhering to the ban during their stay in the Prasanthi Nilayam.
In keeping with the ban at the spiritual centre, the state government too banned liquor and non-vegetarian in Puttaparthi town. The ban has so far been strictly implemented, even though majority of the population of the town does not comprise devotees. Most of the people are settlers, traders and other sections with their permanent residences being in Puttaparthi and adjacent areas.
It is said the then tourism minister J. Geetha Reddy, an ardent devotee of Sai Baba, initiated the ban. She got an order passed banning liquor and non-vegetarian food within eight kilometres of the Prasanthi Nilayam. As a result, all restaurants within this area serve only vegetarian food.
Area of the ban includes Satya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, which is about eight kilometres from Prasanthi Nilayam.
Implementing the ban appears to be becoming difficult with Puttaparthi being named the new headquarters of the Sri Satya Sai district.
Understandably, hundreds of families belonging to officers, employees and staff of the state government have shifted to Puttaparthi after they have been allotted to new district. With the influx of new population, it is becoming difficult for authorities to implement the ban on liquor and non-vegetarian food in the Puttaparthi town.
Mohan, a resident of Puttaparthi, says it had been difficult to implement the ban even when the town had not been the district headquarters. Implementing the same has become difficult after influx of people into the town after it became the district headquarters of Sri Satya Sai district.
Reportedly, liquor is available in several parts of the town and authorities are finding it difficult to curb the same.