Preparation is on as the much-awaited Kochi Metro in Kerala is set to be inaugurated on June 17 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The PM will be accompanied by dignitaries who will witness the inauguration from the stage. But amid this group, there will be one man missing – India’s metro man E Shreedharan. Shreedharan has been overseeing the Kochi Metro project since its inception. His name was included in the list of 13 guests suggested by the state government to be on stage when the project is inaugurated. However, a few days before the event, the name of Shreedharan has been removed, reported The Indian Express. As per the reports, as many as nine names have been removed by the Central government from the official program and Shreedharan’s name was among those. The stage will now be occupied by just the Prime Minister, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Governor P Sathasivam and Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
When Shreedharan was asked by The Indian Express about the changes in the guests’ list and removal of his name from it, the man who hails from Palakkad in Kerala, said, he has no issues with not being on stage. Around 3,500 guests have been invited for the event to inaugurate the commercial services of KMRL.
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Earlier in the day, the Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that in last three years, the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre has approved 250 per cent higher investment for improving basic urban infrastructure than the UPA government between 2004 and 2014. As per a PTI report, the union minister said that the NDA government has approved an amount of over Rs 4.13 lakh crore, which is about 250 per cent over Rs 1.18 lakh crore okayed under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) of the UPA government, in the aforementioned period of time. The minister further said that the present government has introduced a “framework” to ensure objective selection of cities and allocation of central funds without “any discretion and discrimination”, said the report.
While the PM will inaugurate Kochi Metro in Kerala on June 16, President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate a metro section in Bengaluru on the same day.