Obliterating Drayangs: A noble decision?

In what could be construed as a bold decision by the Nyamrup government, Drayangs across the country were told to shut down with immediate effect. 

An executive order was issued on 7 January whereby the government notified all Drayangs in the country to cease the operation. This is yet another bold and noble decision, after the move to provide free education for all until class XII, by the Dr. Lotay Tshering-led government.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Drayangs have remained closed for almost two years. The Druk Drayang Association requested the Prime Minister umpteenth time to resume their business and had even issued written directives on the way forward or ultimately face closure, which eventually happened. 

The Prime Minister had then said the government will look into the matter and asked to professionalize the Drayangs with technical standards. The technical standards include separate entry and exit doors, dressing rooms, a two-meter distance between stage and audience, a smoking room, and doing away with the request system.

However, a study conducted by the Department of Cottage and Small Industries reported that many of the Drayangs did not fulfill the standards set by the government. 

The latest executive order to obliterate the business states that the decision came after numerous researches, meetings, and intense consultations with multiple stakeholders which validated that the business is hinged on compromising norms and values. It clearly shows that it is not a single person’s mere decision.

The government stated that more than the reason for failing to set up the norms, the vulnerability of working women in the industry was taken into high consideration where in fact women from this sector were found to be sexually objectified, stereotyped, and disparaged in the communities. Here is the angle where the highest consideration is taken from the humanitarian ground. Hence, the decision comes as a noble step.

Globally the virus is never subsiding and new variants are expected to remain dominant. The cases have been increasing rapidly every day across the globe. There are even reports of death because of omicron from our closest neighboring country. 

After the report of minimal Covid-19 cases in the country for the past few months, it saw 82 cases in a single day on 7 January from different locations though these are all imported cases. 

The decision for the Drayangs’ closure is a part of restriction and in preparing to avoid a large wave of virus infections. The safety of people should be a priority. 

The Prime Minister even directed the concerned ministries to render support to the Drayang operators and workers to explore other business avenues so that the impact of the closure is lessened. 

While the decision to put a complete halt to the Drayang business could come down hard on the operators and workers alike, it should be understood that the rationale behind the order has a larger impact than their mere business ventures.