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No more entertainment licenses for core P/ling

Phuentsholing Thromde has decided not to approve any new entertainment licenses like Drayangs and Karaoke in the core town area. The resolution was taken during the annual Thromde Tshogde yesterday.

There are already eight drayangs and 11 karaokes in the core town area, which the members said are enough to cater to the Phuentsholing residents.

Thromde’s Chief of Development Regulatory Division Tshewang Jeipo said that the Bhutan Infocomm and Media Authority (BICMA) needs to study the need for such entertainment centers before approving licenses in Phuentsholing core town.

The Chief who is also Deputy Chairman of Entertainment Licensing Committee (ELC) said that henceforth the Thromde will not approve new proposals for such businesses.

It was decided that increasing number of such entertainment centers would do no good to the public and the owners too with most anti-social activities occurring in these centers.

Also, there are others operating such centers unlicensed without the knowledge of the administration. Phuentsholing Thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said that apart from the core town area, the need will be assessed and accordingly, proposals for licenses for extended thromde will be entertained.

“The existing drayangs are already struggling and proliferation would make their situation worse,” he said.

Meanwhile, the timings of such entertainment centers were questioned. Thromde officials usually compel them to close early.

“But since it is a matter of survival, they should be allowed to operate till the time allotted by BICMA. Otherwise their survival is at stake,” said Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (BCCI) Regional secretary Sangay Dorji.

These centers usually operate after 10pm and are forced to close early. The BCCI office has received a few complaints from the operators to allow them to run business as per BICMA’s timing. BICMA allows entertainment centers to operate till 12am.

The Thromde’s Executive Secretary, Wangchuk Thayey, however said that the Thromde’s monitoring is for the safety of the employees who are mostly women.

Further, most of these employees reside across the border town of Jaigaon and returning home late night would impose risks to safety.

The Executive Secretary, also the Chairman of the ELC, said that since the international border gate closes at 10pm allowing the employees to work till midnight would pose threats to employees.

“If the owners of these centers kept their employees within Bhutan, the Thromde would not interfere in their business.”

Meanwhile, the Thromde will look into proposals from extended areas like Pasakha. “If proposals are from outside the core area, we have to consider. But the core town has enough,” said Wangchuk Thayey.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing