The decision to exclude Sreedharan and 8 others was made by the PMO.

Kochi Metro launch PMO excludes Metro man E Sreedharan from the dais
news Kochi Metro Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 16:42

If there’s one man who can be credited for the successful completion of the Kochi Metro, it is E Sreedharan. Popularly known as the Metro Man, Sreedharan oversaw the entire project battling everything from fierce monsoons to labour strikes to give Kochi the same superior Metro service that he had already given Delhi.

However, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels on a Kochi Metro train on Saturday to inaugurate Kerala's first metro, "Metro man" Sreedharan will not have a seat on the dais.

In the first 25-km phase, trains will run for 13 km between Palarivattom and Aluva. Work is on in the remaining section.

Those on the dais will be Modi, Governor P. Sathasivam, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Elias George, the Managing Director of Kochi Metro Rail Corporation, told the media that the list of invitees to the dais was prepared and sent to the Prime Minister's Office. "The final list is made by the PMO. We have no role in this."

Among others who have been excluded from the dais are Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, local MP K.V. Thomas and local legislator P.T. Thomas.

Reacting to the exclusion of Sreedharan from the dais, P.T. Thomas said: "This shows the arrogance of the BJP."

"When the foundation stone for Kochi Metro was laid by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, none was left out from the dais. This is Kerala's dream project and key people behind this are now asked to sit in the audience. This is totally unfair."

Meanwhile, Sreedharan told media that he was not aware that his name had been excluded from the dais. "I have not got any intimation. I will definitely participate in the inaugural function. For that I am heading to Kochi," he is reported to have said.

The Kerala Chief Minister's office has now written a letter to the PMO in this regard. In the letter, the CM office has asked for the inclusion of Sreedharan, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, and local MLA PT Thomas in the list of those who share the stage.

Work on Kochi Metro began in 2012 after the Chandy government entrusted the project to Delhi Metro Rail Corp, with its principal advisor Sreedharan overseeing the project.

Sharing a photograph of his meeting with Sreedharan on Wednesday, Kerala's Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that the news of the PMO excluding Shreedharan's name from the list of dignitories invited on stage was disheartening. 

"I earnestly request the PMO to rectify this mistake. If we don't honour Shreedharan- the man behind the Metro- who else will we honour?" the Minister wrote. 

(With IANS inputs) 


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