Dr Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, popularly known as the “Metro Man”, is primarily credited for changing the face of public transportation in India through his leadership in building Konkan Railway, designed and built in a record time of eight years and Delhi Metro, the largest and busiest metro in India, when he served as its managing director between 1995 and 2012. He is well known for his exceptional leadership qualities and unwavering determination in shouldering arduous responsibilities. During the national railway strike by about 1.7 million workers in 1974 which spanned over 20 days, he was resolute to work on the Metro rail network in Calcutta without a halt. The construction of Konkan Railway headed by Sreedharan was the only project in India which managed to overcome all the adversities faced during the first Gulf War while many countries around the globe including India suffered excessive fuel shortage. These incidents stand out as a testimony for his clairvoyant and exhilarating personality.
Dr E Sreedharan was born on 12th June 1932, in Palakkad district of Kerala. He completed his primary education and college from Kerala before moving to Andhra Pradesh from where he had his education of Civil Engineering from Government Engineering College in Kakinada. After completing his education, he joined the Government Polytechnic in Kozhikode where he taught Civil Engineering subjects. He passed the Indian Engineering Service (IES) examination in 1953 while working as a trainee in Bombay Port Trust and was further appointed as the Probationary Assistant Engineer in Southern Railways in 1954.
Dr E. Sreedharan played a key role in bringing a revolution in the country as a metro. Country’s first Metro project, Kolkata Metro was entrusted to him and its foundations were laid in 1970. Cochin Shipyard got rejuvenated under his guidance and several projects which were hanging for a long time gained momentum. The construction of Konkan Railway, the biggest railway construction endeavour in independent India was carried out under the watchful eyes of Dr Sreedharan. Its construction effectively connected the southwestern coast of India with the rest of the country in a point-to-point straight line. The Delhi Metro Rail Project is another example of architectural marvel constructed under his excellency connecting Delhi and its satellite cities of Faridabad, Gurgaon etc. Being the chief advisor of major metro rail projects of Kochi, Lucknow and Jaipur, he is also associated with numerous metro rail projects across the country. The latest endeavour Dr Sreedharan has undertaken is the reconstruction of Palarivattom flyover in Ernakulam district of Kerala, which he promised to construct within 8 months using the leftover budget of other four bridges constructed by Kochi Metro Rail Corporation. The government of Kerala doesn’t need to spend a penny on the bridge’s reconstruction.
Dr E. Sreedharan, a man so dedicated to his cause and service was honoured with Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan by the country for his exceptional and unfathomable services. He was also awarded Chevalier légion d’honneur by the French government in 2005.