With the inauguration of the Kochi Metro almost on us, Kerala should be rejoicing. Instead, it is suffering a perceived slight at the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The grouse? E. Sreedharan’s name is missing from the list of people who will share the stage with PM Modi, on inauguration day. Sreedharan, known as ‘Metro Man’ of India, is principal adviser to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which completed the Delhi project in four years.
When the Kochi Metro project was launched in Kerala, it was Sreedharan’s image that was used to get support for the project. Everyone knew him as the Metro Man and his endorsement of the Kochi Metro went a long way.
However, Sreedharan is not the only name missing from the list that the Kerala state government had submitted to the PMO. All 17 names on the list have been rejected by the center. The only people who will be sharing the dais with the Prime Minister are Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala’s Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, local MP K.V. Thomas, and Kochi Mayor Soumini Jain.
Even Kochi Metro Rail Limited managing director Elias George, who will deliver the welcome address, will not be on the dais.
Sreedharan, on the other hand, has no complaints. He told the media, “I would certainly attend the function.”