Workers are very happy at their new homes in the Labour City in Mesaimeer, near the Industrial Area. They are enjoying free time playing, chatting with co-workers sitting on the green grass and shopping at a mall inside the city.
The city offers more advantages than a dream workers’ accommodation, some residents said.
It is at walking distance from Al Attiya Market in the Industrial Area, a favourite assembly point of labourers, especially on Fridays. They gather to meet relatives, friends and acquaintances regularly, particularly during the weekend.
Workers say they feel more freedom in the city. This is true of those who have shifted from family residential areas as they were not allowed to venture out at night.
The rule in the city is that no one can cook in their accommodation, something workers this newspaper spoke to said they found favourable from many aspects. Private catering companies are serving hot meals to workers three times a day. Breakfast and dinner are served at their accommodation and lunch is provided at work site after a meagre deduction from their monthly salary.
Another amenity is free Internet and Wi-Fi that have made workers closer to near and dear ones in their countries and friends and countrymen in Qatar.
In leisure time, workers talk on the phone with relatives and friends for hours on end through free mobile phone apps like WhatsApp and video-calling.
“What should be better than this? I share a very nice room, a dining hall facility, and a very clean bathroom,” said Shiv Kumar, a Nepali worker from a big construction company that employs thousands of labourers.
He was sitting in the green space between two buildings, enjoying some of his countrymen play football. It was 5pm yesterday as The Peninsula approached Kumar who had a headset from a mobile phone stuck in his ears as he was talking to some family member back home.
He took some time off and said: “My camp was shifted from Al Wakrah to the city during Ramadan.”
The previous accommodation was not bad but there were restrictions. “We would not feel free there. As it was in a family residential area, we were not allowed to go out after 6pm. We are not permitted here to prepare food in the kitchen that is also not bad. We are being served hot food at our accommodation and work site at our company’s expense,” said Kumar.
He said they were paid a monthly food allowance of QR150 now withdrawn as food is provided by a catering company contracted by their company.
About the quality of food, Kumar said: “We are served good quality of food and of varieties. We are served chapatti, paratha, local bread with cooked vegetable and tea. On the menu generally for lunch and dinner are rice, lentils, bread, meat, chicken and vegetables. Vegetarians are served special vegetables.”
However, one doesn’t get all this food in a day. “If we get chicken today, for instance, red meat would be served tomorrow and vegetables the day after,” explained Kumar. “My company provides free laundry services,” said an employee of a construction company. The city is a very safe place, CCTV cameras have been installed throughout. No one dares enter others’ rooms with malicious intention like stealing, he added.
Many workers have salary-withdrawal cards of a famous bank, but there is no ATM booth of the bank in the city, said Ahmad Mohammad, a worker. “We are forced to go to Al Attiya Market and other places to withdraw cash.”
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