Putting speculation to rest, the Centre is believed to have decided to extend the tenure of 78-year-old Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) managing director E Sreedharan by another year.
The ‘Metro Man’, as Sreedharan is popularly known, is due to retire on December 31. Sources said the Ministry of Urban Development (UD), in concurrence with the Delhi government, had recently taken the decision.
The Delhi government — the DMRC MD is a Delhi government nominee — is likely to make a formal announcement soon. The Delhi government had earlier recommended an extension of three months for Sreedharan.
“But the UD ministry prevailed upon the Delhi government to extend his tenure by a year to ensure continuity ahead of the start of Metro’s phase III line,” said a source.
While phase II of the Delhi Metro is almost complete, sources said Sreedharan’s extension would help in ensuring smooth implementation of phase III of the construction, which will run parallel to the Ring Road and the Outer Ring Road.
Sources said that Sreedharan, who had earlier expressed the desire to hang up his boots, is likely to agree to the decision.
Appointed as managing director in 1997, originally for three years, Sreedharan has already been given four extensions. Under his leadership, the Delhi metro has expanded its network to 190 km in 10 years.
The railway engineer, known for his vision and leadership qualities, has earlier been credited with the successful completion of Konkan Railways, considered one of the toughest railway projects in the country.
He has also worked on the Kolkata Metro project.
Interestingly, during his 13 years of association with the Delhi Metro, Sreedharan even tendered his resignation once.
He took moral responsibility for the Zamroodpur accident in July 2009, when a pier developed cracks and later collapsed, killing six construction workers and injured many.
However, under pressure from the government, he took back his resignation to ensure the successful completion of Metro’s phase II line, that spans 125 km.