Druk Drayang Association requests for rent compensation

Eight Drayangs in the country have closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing the closure of entertainment businesses for more than a year, the Druk Drayang Association (DDA) has requested the Prime Minister, urging the government to compensate them for the rent that they have paid so far.

The association has also been requesting the government to allow them to reopen businesses since they have to pay rent. They say they have been paying rents to the owners for around 13 months now even without operating their businesses.

They added that they are waiting for directives from the government on the reopening dates and on how to operate. However, the government has not yet mentioned any tentative date about when the entertainment outlets in the country can open.

The president of DDA, Kelzang Phuntsho said they have been requesting the government formally and informally to reopen the businesses and that he met with the Prime Minster four times on this issue.

He said though some house owners have waived off the rent partially for few months, most of the Drayang owners are paying full rent from October last year. Some of the house owners have asked the Drayang owners to vacate the space as some of the Drayang owners were unable to pay rent.

“There are a few Drayang owners; they keep their mobile phones switched off and hide from the house owners. Few of them have filed cases in the court,” said the president.

Meanwhile, eight Drayangs in the country have closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are reportedly around 60 Drayangs in the country and employ around 900 employees in the country, of which 90% of them are female.

The DDA president said they are now waiting for the government directives to reopen the businesses so that they can pay rent and sustain their employees.

“We have requested the Lyonchhen to compensate us for the rent that we have paid so far, and to compensate those Drayangs, which have already closed to recover their loss,” he said.

“Though the Lyonchhen agreed verbally to pay the rent, we not did not receive any written letter. We are very thankful to the Druk Gyalpo’s Kidu relief measures for providing kidu for our employees,” he said.

 “We were hoping to reopen businesses after the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, but still there is no directive,” he added. .

The president also added that to reopen the entertainment outlets, the government has made new requirements for operating the businesses such as having a kitchen, smoking room, two doors (exit and entry), separate dressing room for male and female, stopping request system and introducing entry fee.

He said that they have suggested to the government to introduce menu system instead of the request system.

With the new requirements, according to the president, 24 Drayangs do not fulfill the requirements and are not feasible to reopen, and only 29 Drayangs are fulfilling the requirements of the government.

He also said that they have requested the government for loans without mortgage to set up the requirements of the government.

Meanwhile, entertainments outlets are now hoping to reopen businesses after the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Kelzang Phuntsho said employees of entertainment centres are currently working as parking fee collectors; some of them are doing small businesses and some of them went back to their villages.

He said that he has also been receiving calls from the employees since the Druk Gyalpo’s kidu relief was till March this year.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu