E Sreedharan: The Metro Man of India

Posted: July 17, 2009 in General

E Sreedharan - The Metro Man

E Sreedharan - The Metro Man

The Metro Man of India, Elattuvalapil Sreedharan was born on 12 July 1932 in Kerala. He studied at the Victoria College in Palghat, before graduating in engineering from the former Government Engineering College, Kakinada. While he started off his career as a lecturer in Civil engineering at the Kerala Polytechnic in Kozhikode, he moved to the Bombay Port Trust as an apprentice, before joining the Indian Railways in its Service of Engineers. His first major challenge came in 1963, when a tidal wave washed away portions of the Pamban bridge connecting Rameshwaram with mainland Tamil Nadu. Though the Railways had set a target of six months for the bridge to be repaired, Sreedharan got it restored in a record time of 46 days. He was awarded the Railway Minister’s Award for this achievement. He then served as the deputy chief engineer, in charge of the implementation, planning and design of Calcutta Metro in 1970. He also served as the Chairman and Managing Director of the Cochin Shipyard.

Though he retired from Indian Railways in 1990, the Government called him out of retirement and he was appointed as the CMD of Konkan Railway on contract in 1990. This highly challenging project was completed under his stewardship in a period of seven years. The Konkan Railway was the first major project in India to be undertaken on a BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) basis; the project covering a total of around 760 kms has 93 tunnels and over 150 bridges. He was appointed as the Managing Director of Delhi Metro and in what is a rarity for projects undertaken by government agencies in India, most of the scheduled sections of the Delhi Metro project have been completed well-ahead of schedule.

He was made the managing director of Delhi Metro and by mid-2005, all the scheduled sections were completed by their target date or before and within their respective budgets. Sreedharan was given the sobriquet of Metro Man by the media. In 2005, he was awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by the government of France. He had announced that he would retire by the end of 2005, but his tenure has been extended by another three years to oversee the completion of the second phase of Delhi Metro. Recently he was called in Pakistan for development of the Lahore Metro plan. He was also called by the UAE govt in 2005 to Head the Dubai Metro Project, he however rejected their offer, because of his preoccupation with DMRC.

The builders of modern India are often unseen. And amongst them are some men who are worthy of a salute.

However, for the 76-year-old Managing Director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, and also its builder and its executor, the only reward he has ever wanted is the progress of his country.

Bureaucratic red tape tried to delay his work, contractors would not meet commitments and corruption threatened to slow him down.

However, Sreedharan never lost hope. Never lost the belief that one day he could give Delhi a world-class metro rail project and change the meaning of urban transport in India. And that is exactly what he has done.

With 56 kilometer on track and only two phases left to complete, the $2 billion project is running ahead of time and strictly within budget.

In just two more years, the high-speed underground train will be accessible to every resident of Delhi. And India’s public transport revolution is the result of one man’s conviction that his country deserves only the best.

He clocks in at work on the dot at 0845 HRS (IST) every morning, 15 minutes before his staff. And admits that he is not a workaholic but he simply likes his job.

For him, the job at hand is not just his duty but also his dharma. He is hardly ever seen in public and rarely gives interviews or attends public functions, yet his honesty and integrity are legendry.

Reason to remember: Last week,   Sreedharan resigned as the managing director DMRC, taking moral responsibility for the collapse of an under-construction bridge (at Zamrudpur near Amar Colony) that killed five people. However, Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit rejected Sreedharan’s resignation, and he withdrew it a day later. Sreedharan stated after his withdrawal that he will ultimately be quitting from his position but only after the completition of the Phase II of the Delhi Metro Project. He stated that he withdrew his resignation as he was convinced by the Government that Phase II won’t be completed in time without him.

  1. Sanjay Mehra says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am residing in Faridabad and wanted to give sincere regards and congratulations for giving the residents of Faridabad an opportunity to have the priviledge to travel in Delhi Metro on the Stretch between Apollo Hospital and Badarpur Border.

    I would like to draw your attention towards the quality of work done on the Metro Stretch between Apollo Hospital and Badarpur Border.

    I am amased to see the quality of work on this stretch. Although I am not an Engineer, but any layman can judge the quality by seeing this. Just to higlight the Side Supports on the track are fixed so badly that the gaps / mis-alignment / breakage can be seen everywhere.

    As a comparison of this stetch with the rest of stretches been laid all over Delhi, any one can give a ‘C’ Rating in terms of visual quality.

    Being a Indian, Its my responsibility to highlight this issue to the top management.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Sanjay Mehra

  2. P. K. Shaji says:

    I am working as “HSE Manager” for a multinational company in the middle east concentrating on high rise building, for the last 14 years. So far I have worked for 18 towers all of them are the land marks of UAE and Qatar.

    Before this I was working as Factories and Boilers Joint Director in the department of Factories and Boilers, Kerala State.

    Basically I am a Mechanical Engineer with additional qualifications in HSE and having a total 31 years of experience in HSE along with other fields also, out of which 14 years abroad.

    I am from Kochi and as the works of kochi metro is started and if there is any post HSE Manager – Senior, I am glad to come and join with you and I hope with my past experiences can make the present efforts to build the metro a great success and most safe

    Awaiting to hear from you

  3. Surya Bansal says:

    Myself is Surya Bansal, was traveling thru Metro on Dec/25 evening around 9.00 Pm with mother & 70 yr old aunt. We board metro from M.G station for Chatarrpur station. Since, my old aunt need someone to help her in boarding and getting down from the train. I accompanied my mother & aunt in ladies compartment. At around 9.30 pm, metro staff came there, among them one named Naveen told me that I will be penalized(Rs 250/- ) for being in ladies compartment, /- and they call another guy who was penalized for the same reason(And forced me to pay for him) . I gave him Rs 500/- but he had not given the receipt & my money back, I was ready to move to other place. They should have helped us keeping old ladies age in consideration, on the contrary, they forced us to get down at Ghitorni station instead of Chatarpur station. Rules & regulations are made for our convenience and not to harass us.

    It is my request to look into this matter so that it will not happen with anybody else.

    I look forward to hear from you.
    I regiser my complaint in customer care my complain no is 41125

  4. Shrey says:

    Wa wa, E. Speedharan u will great u are a such great metro man

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