13 May, 2021

The Metropolish

This Christmas eve, Santa brings a metro rail more advanced than Tokyo's or New York's

Gireesh G.V.
The Metropolish
When Elattuvalapil Sreedharan first suggested that 10 years was too long to start a metro rail in Delhi, people in government tended to incredulity. Even top international consultants scoffed at the 70-year-old engineer's optimism. After all, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had already lost over two years, remaining headless from when it was cleared in 1996 to the day Sreedharan was appointed MD in November 1998. Besides, for almost a year after his appointment, Sreedharan was putting finishing touches to what he still considers his magnum opus, the Konkan Railway.

But exactly four years after taking charge in a makeshift cabin with a table and a chair, Sreedharan is counting the days to December 24: when imported trains will roll on the first 8.3-km stretch of the 62-km, Rs 10,000-crore network that makes up Phase I. At the headquarters, the specially-devised digital clocks in all officers' rooms are now down to a single digit, weekly meetings have become a daily exercise, officers—especially the electrical engineers—work till 1 am, while at the six stations,...
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