With the timing limit set on recreation hours by the Bhutan Info-Com and Media Authority, the late night recreation business owners in Thimphu are not happy with the closing timing.
According to the BICMA Act, the closing timing for the recreation business have been set differently depending upon the nature and kind of business. Snooker hall are supposed to be close by 10pm, drayang and karaoke bars are to be closed by 11pm from Monday to Thursday. The timing on weekends, Friday and Saturday is till 12am and to remain closed on Tuesdays.
The discotheques are allowed to be open till 12am on Wednesday, and on Friday and Saturday they can keep it open till 1am.
The owner of the Winner’s Pub Karaoke and Bar, Tshering said the timing set by BICMA is not enough. “We usually open our business towards evening and customers come in late. They spend time drinking, gossiping
and singing around, once they are drunk, they don’t leave on the exact time of closing timing. It needs to be changed.”
The owner of the Yangki Lugar Drayang, Norbu Lhaden, said the closing timing is not sufficient as customers visit the drayangs and karaoke bars around 10pm. “They come here to enjoy with their friends and family, however, as soon as they get inside, we have to send them back, as a reason we lose our customers,” she said.
She said the timing from Monday to Thursday needs to be extended from 11pm-12am and during Friday and Saturday, from 12am to 1am, so that they can get more patrons.
A freelance guide, Pema, said the closing time during weekend needs to extend till 1pm so that people who come out get an ample time to enjoy and hang around. He added, “Even tourists ask us and often I have to explain them.”
The proprietor of Banana Club, Sangay, said once they have raised the issue with BICM. “We were told they
need approval from the Cabinet and this issue is to be discussed around September.”
According to the media spokesperson of BICMA, Lakshuman Chhetri, “It is the decision of the Cabinet, if Cabinet approves, we don’t have restriction.”
Meanwhile, the entire recreation business owners around the nation will have to follow the existing timings, until the approval from the Cabinet, he added.
According to sources, snooker
business in Bhutan started in 2003. The owner of Dewachen Snooker, Jamtsho, runs the largest snooker hall in the town. He said before the closing time limit, customers would stay past 12 am, but now people leave by 9pm.
In 2013, BICMA registered the highest number of snooker business established and as of August 5, BICMA saw five new snooker businesses being set up. There are 182 snooker halls, 43 drayangs, 52 karaoke bars and 26 discotheques across the country registered with BICMA.