Nation Politics 04 Feb 2022 Puttaparthi as distr ...

Puttaparthi as district headquarters raises concern over sanctity

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DC CORRESPONDENT
Published Feb 4, 2022, 11:58 pm IST
Updated Feb 5, 2022, 7:34 am IST
In 2004, then tourism minister Geetha Reddy imposed the ban on liquor and non-vegetarian food in the 8km jurisdiction of Prasanthi Nilayam. (DC file image)
 In 2004, then tourism minister Geetha Reddy imposed the ban on liquor and non-vegetarian food in the 8km jurisdiction of Prasanthi Nilayam. (DC file image)

ANANTAPUR: The proposal to have Puttaparthi as district headquarters has raised a fresh concern over existing norms and the desire of Prasanthi Nilayam to continue having a complete ban on liquor and non-vegetarian food in and around the globally revered town.

As of now, even foreign tourists used to non-vegetarian diet and consumption of alcohol strictly avoid these not only inside Prasanthi Nilayam but also other parts of Puttaparthi. The ban on liquor existed for decades – ever since Sri Satya Saibaba set up Prasanthi Nilayam as an International spiritual centre. Thereafter, Saibaba devotees from more than 135 countries across the globe started visiting this place.

After the demise of Saibaba too, the aura of the spiritual centre continues to cast a spell in the town.

With due respect, the state government had banned liquor and non-vegetarian food in Puttaparthi town even as traders, settlers and other sections of the people not linked to the spiritual centre live in Puttaparthi.

In 2004, then tourism minister Geetha Reddy,  devotee of the Baba, imposed the ban on liquor and non-vegetarian food in the 8km jurisdiction of Prasanthi Nilayam. In addition, no scattered housing units are permitted and restaurants would supply only vegetarian food. In the history of Puttaparthi, no bar and restaurant ever existed.

The ban covers the Satya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, about 8km away. However, the AP breweries-owned wine shops exist near the Railway Station, 8km away, at Enumulapalli crossroad.

The proposed district headquarters in Puttaparthi is duty-bound to follow the existing traditional customs. While the activists and devotees stress on the sanctity of the spiritual centre, political leaders in Puttaparthi seem to prefer having the district headquarters 8km away from Prasanthi Nilayam. 

"The district headquarters may be set up near Enumulapalli area away from Puttaparthi town," a leader from Puttaparthi said, so that the offices and the residential areas linked to the headquarters need not follow the present restrictions.

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