Elattuvalapil Sreedharan is an Indian civil engineer and a retired IRSE officer popularly known as the “Metro Man”. He is credited for changing the face of public transport in India with his leadership in building the Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro while he served as the managing director of Delhi Metro Rail corporation DMRC between 1995 and 2012. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2001, the Padma Vibhushan in 2008, the Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 2005 by the French government and was named one of Asia’s Heroes by TIME magazine in 2003. Sreedharan was appointed by the former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to serve on the United Nations’s High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport (HLAG-ST) for a period of three years in 2015. He is also a member of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. He attributes his exemplary success to the principles learnt from Bhagwad Gita.
- Sreedharan was born on 12 June 1932 in Karukaputhurin the present-day Thrithalaconstituency, Palakkad district of Kerala state to Neelakandan Moosath and Ammaluamma. His primary education was from Government Lower Primary School Chathannur near Pattambi in Palakkad district. He completed his education at the Basel Evangelical Mission Higher Secondary School and then went to the Victoria College in Palghat. He later-on completed his Civil Engineering degree from the Government Engineering College, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, presently known as JNTUK.
- Sreedharan and T. N. Seshanwere classmates at BEM High School and Victoria College in Palakkad. Both of them were selected for Engineering in JNTU Kakinada, a university in a port town in Andhra Pradesh, however, E. Sreedharan decided to pursue it, while T. N. Seshan decided to join Madras Christian College(MCC).
Career as a lecturer
For a short period, Sreedharan worked as a lecturer in Civil engineering at the Government Polytechnic, Kozhikode and a year at the Bombay Port Trust as an apprentice. He subsequently joined the Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE), after clearing the Indian Engineering Services Exam in 1953 conducted by the UPSC. His first assignment was in the Southern Railway as a Probationary Assistant Engineer in December 1954.
Awards and accolades
- Railway Minister’s Award (1963)
- Padma Shriby the Government of India (2001)
- Man of the Yearby The Times of India (2002)
- Om Prakash Bhasin Awardfor professional excellence in engineering (2002)
- CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) Juror’s Awardfor leadership in infrastructure development (2002–03)
- One of Asia’s Heroesby TIME (2003)
- AIMA (All India Management Association) awardfor Public Service Excellence (2003)
- Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris causa)from IIT Delhi.
- Y.Nayudamma Memorial Award
- Bharat Shiromani awardfrom the Shiromani Institute, Chandigarh (2005)
- Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur(Knight of the Legion of Honour) by the government of France (2005)
- Qimpro Platinum Standard (Business)National Statesman for Quality in India (2007)
- CNN-IBNIndian of the Year 2007: Public Service (2008)
- Padma Vibhushanby the Government of India (2008)
- Littby Rajasthan Technical University, Kota, Rajasthan, in 2009
- Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris causa) from IIT Roorkee, 2009.
- Honorary doctorateby Cochin University of Science and Technology in 2010.
- Newsmaker of the Year by Manorama Newsin 2012.
- Sree Chithira Thirunal National Award, 2012
- SR Jindal Prize (honorary) awarded by Sitaram Jindal Foundation in 2012.
- TKM 60 Plus award for Lifetime achievement, 2013 by TKM College of Engineering.
- Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by Mahamaya Technical Universityon its first convocation (2013)
- Rotary International for the sake of Honour Award (2013)
- Lifetime Achievement Governance Award by Grifles, 2013
- KPP Nambiar Award by IEEE Kerala Section (2017)
- Lifetime achievement award at Republic-Open Magazine’s Achievers Awards (2019)
A Book on Sreedharan’s life is ‘Karmayogi: E. Sreedharante Jeevitha Katha’ (Translated: Karmayogi : The story of E. Sreedharan’s life) is an authentic biography by M. S. Asokan. A short biography on E. Sreedharan was penned by P.V. Alby, named ‘Jeevithavijayathinte Paadapusthakam’ (translated: A Texbook on success in life). Both these books were top sellers in Kerala during the time Sreedharan took up his post on the Kochi Metro project as Delhi Metro Rail Corporation‘s principal advisor. Another book on Dr E Sreedharan is ” India’s railway man- A biography of Dr. E Sreedharan “by Rajendra B Aklekar . This book has been endorsed by Dr Sreedharan and includes a signed note from him.
In one of the another international books “マダム、これが俺たちのメトロだ”( Trans: Madam, this is our Metro) written by a female Japanese Civil Engineer Abe Reiko, who was closely associate with the DMRC project, praised Sreedharan for his far-farsightedness and strong determination.
Sreedharan’s wife is Radha Sreedharan.