25/12/2010 00:00 AST

Residents of Barwa Masaken are all praise for the project. They are urging the government to plan more of these schemes in and around Doha.

Formerly the Barwa Housing Programme, Barwa Masaken currently has two projects, in Mesaimeer and another in Al Sailiyah, offering budget housing options to close to 2,000 families.

“The move here has been a blessing. The maintenance is prompt, the security strict and the overall feel that of communal harmony,” a Qatari resident of three-bedroom apartment in Barwa Mesaimeer said.

“For the money, it was well-worth the move,” he added.

Each plot in Mesaimeer and Al Sailiyah is designed in blocks of six, with children’s play areas in each of them, with a community area at the centre of the plots for interaction between the diverse residents. Both plots are also heavily landscaped.

“We moved here (Barwa Al Sailiyah) in September and since than its been a breeze from the chronically-choked run-down area of Mughlina we used to live in,” a Pakistani family living in a two-bedroom unit in Barwa Al Sailiyah said.

“You can see children playing outside every evening, with families gathering in the centre of the blocks,” the family said.

Barwa Mesaimeer was handed over to tenants in February 2009, while Al Sailiyah began in July of 2010. Barwa Mesaken features 31 buildings on each project site with 17 designed for three-bedroom and 14 for two-bedroom units. The monthly rents are QR3,500 and QR3,000 respectively.

Initially there were problems since the supermarket and other amenities were not opened right away in Mesaimeer and about the quality of fixtures used in Al Sailiyah. Residents also protested over not being allowed to install their own dish and satellites. These were, however, gradually resolved.

Currently, all facilities at Barwa Mesaimeer are operational, while at Barwa Al Sailiyah, only the community mosque is open so far.

Based on the various amenities and amenities tenants receive, the company recently announced a hike in rents at Barwa Mesaimeer of 10% starting January 2011, but later withdrew the decision on the back of increased pressure from tenants who reminded the company that Barwa Masaken was originally supposed to be a subsidised housing programme in Qatar.

Both projects have been completed with a club house, gym, game rooms, multi-purpose hall, basketball court, tennis court, swimming pool, and a six-room nursery school, in addition to a supermarket.

Membership is required to access the clubhouse though which includes a semi-covered swimming pool, and the three courts. It is tagged at QR2,000 per annum per family.

“If there were any issues initially, they were resolved sooner than later. Now the response time has also increased. For example, one day around 2am a light-bulb popped. The maintenance team was quick enough to show up and replace it,” another resident, of Barwa Mesaimeer said.

At the Barwa Mesaimeer, the company has recently also started replacing all the doors, of all the over 900 units.

“This was ostensibly done as families had complained the previous ones were too weak,” a resident said.

“I get asked once a week whether there’s an empty unit in any of Barwa Masaken projects. I believe the government should start more of these projects,” she added.

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