E. Sreedharan

Elattuvalapil Sreedharan (b. 11 July 1932) is an Indian technocrat, renowned for completing both the Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro projects, within budget and ahead of schedule. He has served as the Managing Director of the Delhi Metro since its inception. Elatuvalapil Sreedharan is from Karukaputhoor in the Palakkad district of Kerala. He studied at the Victoria College in Palghat and then graduated as an engineer from the Government Engineering College, Kakinada (now JNTU). After a short tenure as a lecturer in Civil Engineering at the Government Polytechnic, Kozhikode and a year at the Bombay Port Trust as an apprentice, he joined the Indian Railways in its Service of Engineers. This was through a nation-wide selection procedure and his first assignment was as Probationary Assistant Engineer in the Southern Railway in December 1954.

His Inspiration:
Mr Sreedharan leads a simple life, wakes before dawn, meditates, reads the Bhagavad Gita and does yoga every morning. He derives his inspiration from soul searching and introspection. He once said in an interview to CNN IBN that almost all his take home salary of 30,000 goes to charity and he lives on his pension. He can be described as a man of simple living and high standards with high moral responsibility.

His Philosophy:
Sreedharan achieves timely completion of projects by dividing the project between sub-managers and giving them each a deadline and reviews daily progress reports. He also meets with top staff and consultants on a weekly basis. For him, ‘work is worship’ and he is known for his consistency and deliverance throughout his entire career tenure. Though he retired, the Government was still in need of his services and he was appointed the CMD of Konkan Railway on contract, 1990. Under his stewardship, the company executed its mandate in seven years. Moral values are given the highest regard among his work ethics and principals. 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 However, Delhi's Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, rejected Sreedharan’s resignation, which he had withdrawn a day later. An extraordinary bureaucrat, focused and passionate about his work, he believes in certain values and has sustained them throughout his life against umpteen odds.

His Project — His Impact:
Among his many projects, following few are his most notable ones:

  1. Reconstruction of Pamban Bridge (connecting Rameshwaram to mainland Tamil Nadu), 1963
  2. Implementation, planning and design of Calcutta metro, the first ever metro in India, 1970
  3. Cochin Shipyard launched Rani Padmini, the first ship it built, when he was its Chairman and Managing Director (CMD)
  4. He served Indian Railways till he retired as Member Engineering, 1990
  5. He was appointed the CMD of Konkan Railway on contract, 1990
  6. He was made the managing director of Delhi Metro, 2005