Nima Wangdi 

A few people, who were returning from India after biometrics were quarantined in one of the hotels in Paro on April 29; they were made to pay quarantine fees.

They have paid Nu 6,300 each, which includes Nu 1,500 for the Covid-19 test upon completion of the five-day-quarantine.

It was two days later that the complainants learned that there is an order from the National Covid-19 Taskforce (NC19TF), which exempts them from paying the quarantine fees.

The order was issued on April 6.

The order stated that in addition to the existing considerations for regular students, quarantine charges will be waived for travels undertaken for biometrics, visa interviews; IELTS, TOEFL, medical treatment, and similar test related to studies. “Students also include monks and nuns enrolled in formal institutions.”

“However, travellers should continue to bear all quarantine and testing requirements if the travel is related to businesses and private purposes,” the order stated.

The order also stated: “This order should supersede the earlier order and the regional Covid-19 Task Forces are requested to implement the directives and ensure due diligence before approving the waiver.”

Complainants said that they contacted the de-suups at the hotel immediately after they found the order and asked for refund.

According to one of the complainants, de-suups told them that they had not received the order during the time they completed quarantine term. Complainants were asked to write to the finance ministry since the money had already gone in to the national Covid-19 response fund account.

Complainants said the order was issued on April 6 and the officials at the hotel claimed to have not received it even in almost a month. The complainants were discharged on May 5.

The person said they paid everything as they had agreed to do it in the travel clearance. “We were unaware of the order from the NC19TF until some people informed them.”

“We started to doubt if they were made to pay intentionally despite the order or if the order was fake,” a complainant said.

Officials the Kuensel talked to confirmed that they had not received the order by then and the people were made to pay going by the practice. They said that it was not easy to refund the amount since it goes to the Covid-19 response fund account. “It could have been easily refunded if it was paid to the hotel or any personal account.”

Paro dzongdag declined to comment and asked for written questions.  He said that he was occupied with his other duties. However, Kuensel did not receive his response when the paper was sent to press.