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Urban Infra Leaders: Dr. E Sreedharan, the man behind the revolution of metro rail systems in India

Dr. E. Sreedharan, also known as the "Metro Man," is an Indian civil engineer and retired bureaucrat who is renowned for his contributions to infrastructure development, particularly in the field of urban transportation. He was born on June 12, 1932, in Pattambi, Palakkad district, Kerala, India.


Dr. Sreedharan completed his education in civil engineering from the Government Engineering College, Kakinada (now known as Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University). He later pursued a Master's degree in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee.


Dr. Sreedharan started his career as an apprentice with the Bombay Port Trust in 1953. He joined the Indian Railways in 1954 as an Assistant Engineer and went on to serve in various capacities, gradually rising through the ranks. His significant contributions to the Indian Railways include the implementation of the Kolkata Metro and the Konkan Railway projects.

Dr. Sreedharan's breakthrough project came when he was appointed as the Managing Director of the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) in 1990. He played a pivotal role in the successful completion of the challenging Konkan Railway project, which involved constructing a rail line through difficult terrain along the western coast of India.

His exceptional leadership and organizational skills earned him widespread acclaim and recognition. Following the success of the Konkan Railway project, Dr. Sreedharan was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in 1995. Under his guidance, the Delhi Metro transformed into a world-class metro system and was completed within budget and ahead of schedule. His emphasis on timely execution, quality, and efficiency set new benchmarks for infrastructure projects in India.

Dr. Sreedharan's expertise and dedication extended beyond the Delhi Metro. He also played a crucial role in the planning and implementation of several other metro projects in different cities of India, including Kolkata, Jaipur, Lucknow, and Kochi.


Throughout his career, Dr. Sreedharan has received numerous awards and honors, including the Padma Shri (2001) and the Padma Vibhushan (2008), which are among the highest civilian awards in India. He is highly regarded for his professionalism, integrity, and unwavering commitment to public service.

After his retirement from the DMRC in 2011, Dr. Sreedharan continued to contribute to infrastructure development in India. He has been involved in various advisory and consultancy roles for infrastructure projects and has been sought after for his expertise and guidance.

Dr. E. Sreedharan's remarkable achievements have made him an inspirational figure in India's infrastructure sector. His relentless pursuit of excellence and his ability to deliver projects with efficiency and integrity have earned him immense respect and admiration from people across the country.


1. Konkan Railway Project: E. Sreedharan played a pivotal role in the successful implementation of the Konkan Railway project. The project involved constructing a rail line along the challenging terrain of the Konkan coast, which included numerous rivers, mountains, and valleys. Sreedharan's efficient project management and engineering skills helped complete the project within the stipulated time and budget.

2. Delhi Metro: E. Sreedharan is most renowned for his leadership in the construction of the Delhi Metro, which revolutionized urban transportation in the Indian capital. Under his guidance as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the project was completed ahead of schedule and became a model for efficient and timely infrastructure development.

3. Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan: In recognition of his exceptional contributions to civil engineering and infrastructure development, E. Sreedharan has been honored with several awards. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian award, in 2008.

4. Kollam Kottapuram Rail Bridge: E. Sreedharan led the construction of the Kollam Kottapuram Rail Bridge in Kerala, India. The bridge, spanning across the Ashtamudi Lake, was completed in record time and stands as a significant engineering feat.

5. Quality and Efficiency: E. Sreedharan is known for his emphasis on quality and efficiency in project execution. His meticulous attention to detail and strict adherence to timelines and budgets have earned him a reputation for delivering projects with excellence.

6. Other Metro Projects: Apart from the Delhi Metro, E. Sreedharan has been involved in the planning and implementation of various other metro projects in India. He provided expertise and guidance to projects in cities like Kolkata, Jaipur, Lucknow, and Kochi, shaping their development and success.

7. Honorary Fellowships: E. Sreedharan has been honored with numerous honorary fellowships from prestigious institutions such as the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Institution of Engineers (India), and the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), among others.

8. Retirement and Continued Contributions: Even after his retirement, E. Sreedharan continues to make significant contributions to infrastructure development. He has been sought after for his expertise and serves as an advisor and consultant for various projects across the country.

E. Sreedharan's dedication to excellence, his ability to manage complex infrastructure projects, and his unwavering commitment to public service have made him an inspiration to many and earned him immense respect and admiration.

10 Inspirational Quotes By E Sreedharan

1. The four cardinal pillars of the value culture I practice are: integrity, hard work and commitment, professional excellence, and commitment to society.

2. I think the four major pillars of work culture are punctuality, integrity, professional competence, and a sense of social responsibility or accountability.

3. Whatever tasks are entrusted to us, we should carry them out to the best of our abilities, with total dedication and commitment, without expecting any rewards or recognition.

4. The triumph of a leader also consists in identifying and grooming a competent successor.

5. When one’s mind is qualitative, organized and disciplined, whatever one does will also be equally meritorious.

6. Have a strict decision-making process: Decisions cannot wait because each day you delay a decision, it costs, so decision making in a project has got to be very fast.

7. You delegate powers to trusted people in charge at pivotal points. Trust them. They may make mistakes, sometimes.

8. When the mind is organized, everything one does will be organized.

9. Our body completes its growth by 21 years. The only factors then to grow are the mind and the intelligence, which constitute the inner personality.

10. It is a fundamental fact that if you know your job well, naturally you have all the confidence to do it well.

If you don’t know your job, you must learn it. If you can’t learn it, engage someone who will help you to execute the job properly. (E Sredharan)

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