Metroman and advisor to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) E Sreedharan, who had been the chief consultant for the Kochi Metro project too, has not been invited to participate in the inaugural function on Saturday. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointing out this ‘gross omission’. Prime Minister is slated to inaugurate the Rs 8,000-crore Kochi Metro on June 17. In the first 25-km phase, trains will run for 13 km between Palarivattom and Aluva. Work is on in the remaining section. Kerala Metro Rail Corporation (KMRL) had put forward a list of 13 participants to be invited for the inaugural function. However, the Prime Minister’s office had trimmed the list of those participating in the inaugural function to just four — Prime Minister, Kerala governor P Sadasivam, union minister of urban development Venkaiah Naidu and Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Though their names are not in the invitee list, KV Thomas MP, state transport minister Thomas Chandy and Kochi mayor Soumini Jain were to be allowed on the stage.
Weathering the harsh monsoons and labour strikes, 81-year old Sreedharan had overseen the entire project from conceiving to executing, to gift Kochi the same state-of-the-art Metro service that he had earlier gave Delhi.
“I would sincerely urge the PMO to rectify this mistake. If we don’t honour Shreedharan- the man behind the Metro- who else will we honour?” wrote Kerala tourism minister Kadakampilly Surendran on Facebook.
As there a wave of public outrage is readying over avoiding the Metroman, Kerala government has been quick to get the omission rectified. The Kerala CM has urged Prime Minister to include, besides Sreedharan, Kerala oppostion leader Ramesh Chennithala and legistaur from the constituency PT Thomas in the list of invitees.
When the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had inaugurated the civil works of the Kochi Metro five years ago, Sreedharan had been invited to the stage.