International award for E Sreedharan

via HK published on January 11, 2006

E.Sridharan,Management Specialist from Kerala, has selected for Engineering News-Record award of   McGraw-Hill construction group.E.Sridharan who hails from Pattambi of Palakkad district is at present Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail, corporation.He will be honoured at Newyork on April 6′ 2006.

The honour has been given for his outstanding management skills shown in completing the Delhi Metro network with International standards,within the stipulated time.E.Sridharan,now 73 was the brain behind the prestigous Konkan Railway also.Most of his working life he was yet another unknown engineer with the railways, until he took up the challenge of building the Konkan Railway that reduced the Mumbai-Kochi distance by one-third. Everybody said it wasn’t possible. Also, that it would cost too much money, will be a white elephant, will be technologically impossible, will ravage the environment. The usual reasons why no new infrastructure can be built in India. There were PILs filed, processions taken out. He defied them all and built India’s first, genuine railway project of any notable size after the British.

This was the case from the start. In 1963, disaster struck the Rameshwaram island when tidal waves washed away the Pamban bridge connecting it with mainland Tamil Nadu. A passenger train was swept away, killing hundreds of persons.

The Southern Railway decided to restore the bridge and set a target of six months. General Manager B.C. Ganguly advanced the deadline by three months and the Railway Board assigned the task to a 31-year-old executive engineer, Sreedharan. It was a tough task as it was an old bridge, built by the British in late-nineteenth century, with 146 spans and a scherzer-a steel girder which opens up for large vessels to pass under the bridge.

Sreedharan took up the challenge and advanced the deadline by a month, making the task tougher. He made the bridge functional in 46 days. He achieved this by the application of some ‘commonplace values’-discipline, punctuality and honesty-and the introduction of a new work culture. These traits continue. After the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was set up, one of the first things Sreedharan did as managing director was to instil a “sense of corporate culture”. 

Till date he is also recipient of various other honours which includes Padmashri in 2001 and  one of the most prestigious civilian awards of the French Government — Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour)  in 2005.

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