This man should have retired a long time ago with enough achievements to boast about to his grandchildren. During most of his career span 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. Before his taking up this project, it was believed to be impossible. Many experts commented that the project is not financially viable. Technically, it seemed to be challenging due to enormous amount of tunneling and slope stabilization work involved. Several environment groups refuted the project reasoning that it would be detrimental to the local fauna and flora. These are the usual bottlenecks of perhaps every infrastructure project being built in India. Several litigations were filed by NGO’s, processions and dharnas were held to oppose this project. He defied them all and built India’s first, post independence genuine railway project of notable size since the British started the railway in nineteenth century.
The man was at his innovative best during the time when the government was short of funds. Under his leadership the Konkan Railway’s public bonds were raised and that was more than a decade ago when such things were unprecedented. The Konkan Railway is still very prestigious project of Indian Railways.
Mr. Sreedharan in his third innings was appointed as Managing Director of Delhi metro. Initially, no one was really sure that the Delhi metro shall ever become a reality. The reason being the past experience of Calcutta metro. Even this small, one-line metro had caused enormous chaos for a decade and a half. However, the old man took up the job and built this prestigious project ahead of schedule in spite of several hurdles such as initial setback in the form of Japanese sanctions after Pokharan and mishappening during construction stage. Whenever he has been asked about the reason of his success he had always replied – good team work. Now what will be next? Shall he lead a virtuous life of a retired man or will take up some new challenging assignment? Let’s keep our finger crossed till he hangs his boots at the end of this year.
It seems success and virtue run side by side in Sreedharan's life, like railway tracks.