Seized hotel used as quarantine centre raises questions

From former owner, says case not over

Nim Dorji  | Trongsa

The former proprietor of Hotel Kuenzang Norling International (KNI) in Bumthang has yet again got into another controversy with the former proprietor claiming that the dzongkhag using the hotel as a quarantine facility was a breach of rule.

The former proprietor, Penjor, said that the hotel cannot be used as a quarantine facility as a legal case is pending in the High Court, which the Bhutan National Bank has seized earlier after a protracted loan default case.

Penjor has approached the Parliament Joint Committee on Covid-19 last month requesting an investigation on why the property was used as a quarantine facility while a case was pending in the High Court. “This unlawful decision of the Bumthang dzongdag has to be investigated,” he said in a letter addressed to the chairman of the Committee.

Penjor, who complained in writing and in verbal several times to this newspaper said that he had informed the dzongdag about the case on March 27 when a committee was discussing about using hotels as quarantine facility. “I informed him that my hotel was closed for four years because we are not finished with the case,” Penjor said. “The dzongdag said he would get back to me after discussing with the committee, but he didn’t and the hotel was used as a quarantine centre.”

Penjor said that he had informed the dzongdag that there are about 70 hotels and resorts in Bumthang and that choosing KNI was wrong because of the case. He also accused the dzongdag of making him “look bad” by not cooperating during the Covid-19 pandemic. “If the property is not embroiled in legal issues, I would gladly surrender mine as a facility,” he said.

Bumthang dzongdag Passang Dorji said that during the first meeting on Covid-19 with regional and sector heads and local leaders on March 06, the drangpon informed the meeting that the Bhutan National Bank (BNBL) owned a hotel which was empty and could be used as quarantine centre.

“The taskforce enquired with the BNBL management and got the keys from the BNBL. I suppose the owner of the property has the key”, he said.

The Supreme Court has issued an execution order to Bumthang court on July 4, 2018 to surrender the mortgage properties, hotel KNI and land, to the bank as he had failed to pay the loan. It also stated that he should refrain from posting “un necessary things” on the social media.

The dzongkhag district court issued the enforcement order on August 8 2018.

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