To review and streamline the standards of the establishments, the Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA), and Thimphu thromde has suspended the issuance of new licenses for places of entertainment from December 15.

Places of entertainment include establishments such as discotheque, karaoke, live music, snooker and video game parlour.

Chief Communications Officer of Licensing and Compliance Division with BICMA, Wangay Dorji, said Thimphu already has a number of entertainment places, and if the growth is not monitored and streamlined, there would be rapid proliferation.

Today, more than 30 percent of the country’s places of entertainment are in Thimphu. There are more than 350 entertainment places in the country. Thimphu thromde has about five discos, 13 drayangs, 35 karaoke bars, 65 snookers, 31 video game parlours, and five live music establishments.

Wangay Dorji said BICMA and other stakeholders (thromde, department of trade, department of revenue and customs) are also working on determining the number of existing establishments and their standards to determine the required number of different establishments to be licensed in future.

He said that the issuance of license is also suspended to find out if the existing establishments are following the standards, and to review if the places are complying with the new Rules Governing Places of Establishments. “We want to make sure that places of entertainment are safe, secure, comfortable, and clean for people.”

The Rules Governing Places of Establishments was revised and implemented from September 1, this year. The rule was amended because of inconsistencies and lack of clear roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders involved.

Wangay Dorji said BICMA and its stakeholders are monitoring the existing places of entertainments twice a week to determine the current situation.  “The issuance of new licenses will be suspended until the study is complete.”

The teams monitor safety of the places such as whether the places have bouncers and CCTV cameras, and whether the places are up to the standards as per the new rule.

Karma Cheki