Dr. E Sreedharan conferred with Urban Infra Leader of the Year 2019 Award

Anushka Khare Posted on: 2020-01-23 08:37:12 Viewer: 1,096 Comments: 0 Country: India City: New Delhi

Dr. E Sreedharan conferred with Urban Infra Leader of the Year 2019 Award

New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): Dr. E Sreedharan, known as 'Metroman', has been conferred with the highest urban infrastructure leadership award "Urban Infra Leader of the Year 2019" under "Urban Infra & Leadership Awards 2019" in the individual category. The Award was given to him for extending the extra-ordinary service and leadership role in the execution of various Rail, Metro and Public Transport projects in India. Dr. Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, even at the age of 88 when most people might want to be tending their roses, loves engaging himself with policymakers, urban planners, civic administrators and students, sharing with them experiences gathered over 56 years of his professional life.

He travelled across India and sometimes abroad, and is considered a treasure trove of information on urban transportation, Metros, Railways and other infrastructure projects. Dr. E Sreedharan conferred with the Urban Infra Leader of the Year 2019. He played a key role in the building of the Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro. In India, millions of people are dependent on public transport and the credit for changing the very face of Indian public transport goes to this enterprising engineer.

The man who began his career as a lecturer in an engineering college appeared for the Engineering Services Examination (ESE) and joined the Indian Engineering Service (IES). He first proved his ability as an engineer when he was put in charge of restoring a bridge that had been damaged by a cyclone. He executed the complete work within 46 days as against the six months allotted to this task. Recognized by the government for his brilliance, he was made the in-charge for planning and designing the Kolkata Metro, the very first metro in India.

The next several years saw him working with the single-minded conviction to improvise the public transport system in India. He had become such an invaluable asset to Indian Railways that the government let him know that his services would be required even after he retired from IES. Several national and international honors have been bestowed upon him for his pioneering works.

Childhood & Early Life

  • E Sreedharan was born in Palakkad district of Kerala on 12 June 1932. His family hailed from Karukaputhoor.
  • He received his early education from Basel Evangelical Mission Higher Secondary School after which he went to Victoria College in Palghat.
  • He chose to study engineering and completed his Civil Engineering from the Government Engineering College, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.


  • After completing graduation in Civil Engineering, E Sreedharan was appointed as a lecturer in Civil engineering at the Government Polytechnic, Kozhikode. He worked there only for a short while before joining the Bombay Port Trust as an apprentice.
  • In 1953, he appeared for the Engineering Services Examination (ESE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and cleared it. He joined the Indian Engineering Service (IES) and was posted as a Probationary Assistant Engineer in the Southern Railway in December 1954.
  • Sreedharan faced the first big challenge of his career in December 1964 when a cyclone damaged the Pamban Bridge in Tamil Nadu. The Railways allotted a period of six months for the repair works while Sreedharan’s boss wanted the work done within three. Sreedharan, who was made in-charge of the restoration, executed the work in just 46 days.
  • In 1970, Sreedharan was assigned the responsibility of implementing, planning and designing the Kolkata metro, the first-ever metro in India. He was a deputy chief engineer at that time.
  • With his hard work and determination, he led the successful completion of the job and set the pace for further development in infrastructure engineering in India. He was associated with the project until 1975.
  • In October 1979 he joined the Cochin Shipyard Limited, the largest shipbuilding, and maintenance facility in India. But at the time of his joining, the agency was not performing well. However, under Sreedharan’s direction, the agency flourished and launched its first ship MV Rani Padmini in 1981.
  • He became the General Manager, Western Railway in July 1987. A couple of years later he was elevated to the post of Member Engineering, Railway Board and ex-officio Secretary to the Government of India.
  • He retired in June 1990 but the government informed him that his services would still be needed and thus he was appointed the CMD of Konkan Railway on contract.
  • The Konkan Railway project, which had 93 tunnels with a total tunnel length of 82 km and involved tunneling through soft soil, was very different from the typical Indian railway projects. The total project covered 760 km and had over 150 bridges. Under his leadership, the work was completed in seven years.
  • He was later made the managing director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). Again he proved to be an extraordinary leader and all the scheduled sections were completed within their respective budgets, and by their target time.
  • The phenomenal success of the Delhi Metro made him a national celebrity and the government honored him with many awards for his relentless hard work and dedication. He retired from service in December 2011.
  • Presently, he is guiding in the execution of various metro rail projects in India such as  Delhi Metro, Kochi Metro, Lucknow Metro, Jammu & Srinagar Metro etc. as a Principal Advisor.

Awards & Achievements

  • Keeping in view of his contribution to the nation's infrastructure development, the Government of India honored Sreedharan with the 'Padma Shri', the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India, in 2001.
  • The Government of France bestowed upon him The Order of Légion d'Honneur, the highest decoration in France, in 2005.
  • In 2008, he received the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in the Republic of India, in recognition of his work with the Delhi Metro Rail project.

Personal Life & Legacy

  • E Sreedharan is married to Radha and regards his wife as a great pillar of support. The couple has four children, all of them are now well accomplished in their own chosen fields.
  • He regularly reads the Bhagwad Gita and tries to imbibe its teachings in his professional and personal life. He does not regard the Gita as a religious text, but as a handbook of advice on how to optimize life.
  • He is a very principled man who believes that time is money. Even though he is in his eighties, he still leads an active life and continues to advise the government on its metro and rail projects.

If you are curious to know more about Dr. E Sreedharan, you can read the following books written based on his professional and personal life:-

  • Karmyogi: A Biography of E Sreedharan, authored by M S Ashokan, a senior Journalist.
  • India’s Railway Man: A Biography of E Sreedharan, authored by Rajendra B Aklekar, a senior Journalist.

Urban Infra & Leadership Awards are a global magazine award that has been initiated by Urban Transport News, New Delhi to celebrate and recognise the corporates and personalities who are contributing the nation by extending extra-ordinary and unmatched services in Indian Infrastructure Industry.

The list of winners of Urban Infra and Leadership Awards 2019 was featured in January 2020 Edition of Urban Transport Infrastructure Magazine (Vol. II, Issue 7, Page 21)

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