English | Dzongkha Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Entertainment centre owners served eviction notice- Gelegphu

Jan 17, 2021

After the first case of COVID-19 in the country in March last year, the government directed the closure of all entertainment centres. And more than ten months later, most owners of such entertainment centres are now struggling to make ends meet. In Gelegphu, the owners are now served eviction notices after failing to pay rent for almost eight months.

While their livelihoods are affected, they have not given up on the businesses they have started. They are hoping that the government might allow their businesses to resume, but what little hope they have is also dashed to the ground after they were told to vacate their entertainment houses by the house owners.

“The landlords did not give us any discount. I made half payment for almost six months and after that, I could not make any payments. I think I owe him around Nu 120,000. Last time I was informed to vacate the house. When I went to vacate the house, the house owner took the key from me and denied my belongings demanding for the balance payment,” said Tanka Badhur, the owner of Country Park in Gelegphu.

“I told the house owners that since the government has waived of their loan as kidu, they should also provide us with some concession but the house owner told us they did not receive any written notice from the government to waive off the rents,” added Kinley Wangmo, from the Country Park.

“In such a situation, we don’t have any source of income and the house owners keep demanding for house rent. The only source of our income is kept under lock by the government,” said Karma, the owner of Lugar Karaoke in Gelegphu.

However, according to some landlords, since they also have loans they cannot keep on waiving off the rents. Karma Tenzin is one of the building owners in the heart of Gelegphu town. He asked one of his tenants who runs a karaoke in his building to vacate it. He said he has waived off 100% of the rent for eight months to the karaoke operator. He suggested his client venture into other business as it does not seem feasible for the entertainment centres to reopen for quite some time amid the pandemic.

“His Majesty’s kidu has immensely benefited us. We waived off 100% house rent but henceforth we have a huge amount to pay the loan and it is inconvenient for us. If the pandemic is for one to two months we can manage but this pandemic is unpredictable which will continue for one to two years,” he said.

“It is crossing more than Nu 200,000 in the calculation. Then I reduced it to 50%, yet they failed to make the payment. One woman who operates a drayang in my building came to surrender. added Thinley, also a building owner in Gelegphu.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) says entertainment centre owners should not wait for the situation to improve but should seek approval from concern agency to operate their entertainment centre as a bar or shop for their livelihood.

“Right now bar, restaurant and hotels are permitted to operate. It is not necessary to open Karaoke and Drayang. They could operate a bar at their existing entertainment centre by complying to the COVID 19 protocol for sustaining their livelihood,” said Kezang, the Secretary of BCCI in Gelegphu.

There is a total of 15 entertainment centres under Gelegphu thromde of which nine are Karaoke, three Drayangs and two are discotheque.      

Karma Wangdi

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