The office of the civil surgeon here is in a building that has completed 101 years and now become unsafe.
Raised when Faridkot was a princely estate, it was formerly Dane Rani Suraj Kaur Zenana (women's) Hospital, of which Lady Edith Dane of England laid the foundation stone on March 1, 1911.
Even after some years have passed since it was declared unsafe, it continues to house important offices. The civil surgeon moved to the Civil Hospital some years ago, yet his team still works under the old, crumbling roof.
The building holds the district-level malaria-testing laboratory, office of the registrar of births and deaths; team implementing the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006; media office of the civil surgeon; Pulse Polio mission monitoring office of the World Health Organisation (WHO); and the workplace of the district health officer (DHO).
The building's old-style tile-batten roof (supported with small pieces of wood) has aged. "We have 42 employees sitting under it," said an official in one of these offices. "The building is unsafe, yet we have received no money for its repair or maintenance."
Years ago, the space in the Civil Hospital was taken for all these offices, yet only the civil surgeon's desk moved there.
Built of honest material
The structure, however, did last 101 years, when many new buildings of the state government have disintegrated at half their age. The credit for its long life goes to the quality material and sound architecture.
The building of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Kotkapura, has become unsafe in just three decades. Its reinforced concrete cement (RCC) structure was supposed to last 80 year.
The civil surgeon of Faridkot, Dr Gurdit Singh, took the plea that he had just joined. "I will have to check the record," he said, "but I do promise to take quick action."