With the world renowned spiritual guru Sri Satya Sai Baba passing away and the Satya Sai Central Trust members getting embroiled in controversies, the tiny town of Puttaparthy, which once flourished with various businesses, has been wearing a deserted look putting a question mark over its future.
Ever since the death of the revered spiritual master, the airport stopped brimming with activity and the 50 plus small and big hotels are suffering due to lack of occupancy. Travel agencies, which abound the town, do not know how to run their businesses with the rush of pilgrims and devotees coming down drastically.
When Satya Sai was alive and devotees made a beeline, real estate business flourished with daily transactions taking place briskly. Several rich people, including foreigners, used to buy lands in and around Puttaparthy for settling there. Now, there was no one to buy a piece of land in and around the town despite the owners’ readiness to sell. Real estate brokers, who minted millions, are now migrating to other towns and cities.
Autos, RTC buses and taxis have stopped plying in the town with no one looking for them. While the RTC has cut down its number of services to the Sai abode, there is no one to buy the milk produced by several dairy farms in and around the town.
With a number of doctors deciding to stop rendering free services at the Sai hospitals in Puttaparthy, the number of patients visiting the hospitals has also reached the lowest ebb drying up the businesses of the medical shops and other establishments.
To put it in a nutshell, hope has given way to despair and most of the small vendors have been looking for alternative businesses somewhere else. A look at the town only gives the feeling that Sri Satya Sai Baba has taken away the life of Puttaparthy too along with him.