E. Sreedharan-The Metro Man

Shri E. Sreedharan is a very famous personality for his incredible and wonderful accomplishment in the Railways. He is popularly known as 'METRO MAN'. He was bestowed with 'PADMAVIBHUSHAN' award - Nation's one of the highest reputation given to famous personalities for their achievement in various fields.


The Padma Vibhushan Dr. E. Sreedharan, the famous Indian technocrat and popularly known for completing the Kokan Railway (from Mumbai to Mangalore via Goa - first railway line through coastal area) and the vivacious Delhi Metro projects well within the budget.The projects were completed and submitted to the nation much ahead of the schedule.

Childhood and Education

Shri Elattuvalapil Sreedharan was born on 12th June 1932 in Palakkad district, Kerala.His family hails from Karukaputhoor in Palakkad. After completing his school education in Basel Evangelical Mission Higher Secondary School, he completed his college education in Victoria College in Palghat and graduated as an engineer from the Govt. Engineering College, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.
After a short tenure as a lecturer in Civil engineering at the Govt. Polytechnic, Kozhikode and a year at the Bombay Port Trust as an apprentice, he joined the Indian Railways it's Service of Engineers. His first assignment was in the Southern Railways a Probationary Assistant Engineer in December 1954. He is also the school classmate of former Chief Electing Commissioner T.N. Seshan. Till then Shri Sreedharan was the first in all the standards. His first position in class was overtaken by T.N. Sehshan from 5th standard onwards.

Government career

In 1963, a huge tsunami washed away parts of Pamban Bridge that connected Rameswaram to mainland Tamil Nadu. The Railways set a target of six months for the bridge to be repaired while Sreedharan's boss, under whose jurisdiction the bridge came, reduced it to three months. Sreedharan was put in-charge of the execution and he restored the bridge in just 46 days. The Railway minister's Award was given to him in recognition of this achievement. In 1970, as the deputy chief engineer, he was put in charge for implementation, planning and design of Calcutta metro, the first ever metro in India. Cochin Shipyard launched Rani Padmini, the first ship it built when he was its Chairman and Managing Director (CMD). He retired from Indian Railways as Member Engineering in 1990. Shri Sreedharan also has an advisory board slot at a new Foundation for the Restoration of National Values. Business tycoon Ratan Tata and a former chief justice of India are serving, too. The foundation aims to "bring in good values in all areas of national life" to cleanse corruption in high places", says Sreedharan.

Though he retired, the Government needed his services and he was appointed the CMD of Konkan Railway on contract in 1990. Under his stewardship, the company executed its mandate in seven years. The project was unique in many respects. It was the first major project in India to be undertaken on a BOT (Build Operate-Transfer) basis, the organization structure was different from that of a typical Indian Railway set-up; the project had 93 tunnels along in length of 82 km and involved tunneling through soft soil. The total projector covered 760 km and had over 150 bridges. That a public sector project could be completed without significant cost and time overruns was considered an achievement by many.

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 sorbriquet 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 extended by the three years to oversee the completion of the second phase of Delhi Metro. In July 2009, Sreedaran 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 Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit rejected Sreedaran's resignation and he withdrew it a day later. Sreedaran stated after his withdrawal that he will ultimately be quitting from his position but only after the completion of the Phase II of the Delhi Metro Projects.

Management style

Sreedharan achieves timely completion of projects by dividing the projects between sub managers and giving them each a deadline. He reviews daily progress reports. He also meets with top staff and consultants weekly.

Personal life

E. Sreedharan wakes before dawn, meditates, reads the Bhagavad Gita and does yoga every morning. He also walks 45 minutes in the evenings. He once said in an interview to CNN IBN that almost all his take home salary of INR 30,000 goes to charity.


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Author: Kamalakshan02 Jan 2011 Member Level: Silver   Points : 0

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