The otherwise quiet and serene Dhamdum Industrial Park (DIP) in Samtse is not itself for the last three days. A loud music is on. A master of ceremony (MC) shouts even louder into the microphone to attract customers to a dart game.

In a build-up to the 111th National Day celebrations, a food, fun, and fair festival have been organised at the park, which is seeing visitors from both Samtse and across the border.

Betting on dart game is of peculiar interest to the crowd.

The MC shouts, “Come on, come on. Bet Nu 50 and win Nu 500. You do not have to go to Australia. You can earn right here in Samtse. Right now.”

Everything about the dart has appealed to the people.

A visitor at the festival, Nima, said he was interested in the dart game because there were chances of winning.“I have won and lost today,” he said. “I will just play once.”

The dart game is simple. The board has 12 houses numbered one to 12. A chart with the same digits is laid on a table. Customers choose numbers on the chart. A dart is thrown at the dartboard and the number the dart strikes would win the game on the chart. If a person has placed Nu 50 as bait, he would win Nu 500 for the number.

While visitors win and leave, the dart business has also benefitted more than 30 individuals who are conducting the games at the DIP festival.

Kencho Wangdi owns one of the most successful dart outlets.

“We call this game as Bada Ghar,” he said. “We have made it on our own since dice and cards are not allowed.”

Kencho Wangdi said his shop appealed more to the customers because of the presentation. “A good sitting arrangement and an entertaining person behind the mic has attracted people.”

The businessman said he made a net profit of Nu 11,000 in the first night of December 10. “The profit decreased because two customers won Nu 10,000 each as their chosen number was hit on the board and they had baited Nu 1,000.”

Another dart game conductor, Tshering Nidu, said he was able to profit by Nu 10,000 in the first night.

“I serve free beers and juices to attract people,” he said.

Tshering Nidu said the crowd is not as expected and explained it could be because most would be busy at work offices.

Dart owners are charged a fee of Nu 5,000 by the municipal office of Samtse for the three days at the park.

Most dart owners said the business is good considering the charges.

Meanwhile, DIP is filled with many other eateries and stalls.

A garment stall owner, Tashi, said the clothes business was not as profitable as other businesses. “Most go to bars.”

Meanwhile, Sonam Tshering Dorji from Bongo has brought a carnival machine called as the “breakdance” at the festival.

“This is the first time this ride is brought to Samtse,” he said. “It is a good business and people loved it.”

If such equipment is allowed for purchase, Sonam Tshering Dorji said he would invest. He is paying the municipal Nu 24,000 as charges for the spot.

The three days festival that began on December 10 ends today.

Rajesh Rai  | Samtse