Abu Dhabi: Industrial City of Abu Dhabi’s (ICAD) Residential City is more than just a sprawling worker’s accommodation facility for foreign workers.
The secure, sprawling community is a home away from home for thousands of workers from across the Indian subcontinent.
Thrown into the spotlight when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a visit to the sprawling residential complex in Abu Dhabi in August, the complex is situated in the busy industrial zone of Musaffah and plays host to all of the amenities of a community from hypermarkets and grocery stores to restaurants, playgrounds and a mosque.
“It is a good place for workers to live. We get everything from food to grocery items. There is also a health-care centre inside the complex to take care of the workers,” said Mohammed Sharfuddin, a 33-year-old truck driver from India.
He said he has been living in ICAD city for the past two years and finds it comfortable.
“There are playgrounds for people to play cricket and volleyball. This is useful for workers during weekends when they are off and need something to entertain themselves. The company pays for our accommodation and we are allowed to cook food in the kitchen. It is good for us. We are able to save some money at the end of the month.”
A number of workers, from taxi drivers to construction labourers, have been living in the residential city for many years.
Round the clock security is provided for the safety of workers.
“No outsider is allowed inside without permission. We feel safe and secure,” said Harmesh Lal, an electrician who has been staying here for five years.
Zones Corp, also known as Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones, said on its website the workers’ residential city projects have been conceived to address the large demand for workers’ accommodation in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
“The need for the project arises from its capacity to support the development of a strong non-oil industrial base in Abu Dhabi and to enhance the image of the emirate, thereby further attracting investments and the requisite workforce for continued development and growth.”
Officials from Zones Corp did not respond to Gulf News’ queries regarding the accommodation.
Modi interacted with workers during his visit to the residential city last month. He asked about their well-being and posed for pictures with them. It was a dream come true for many men to see their prime minister at their place.
Though the accommodation has taken the standard of living to a new level, it certainly isn’t perfect.
Workers said there is room for improvement.
“Quality of food served in the restaurants is not good. It should be made better. Though there is a kitchen facility, it is far from the rooms where we stay. More kitchens should be built,” said Hassan Mohammad, a 40-year-old Indian driver.