Elattuvalapil Sreedharan is an Indian politician and engineer who is known for transforming the public transport sector in India. His leadership in the building of the Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro is acknowledged globally. Sreedharan was the managing director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) between 1995 and 2012. The Metro Man, as Sreedharan is popularly known, has been awarded numerous times for his contributions. In 2001, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian government. In 2008, the Indian government awarded him the Padma Vibhushan. The French government, in 2015, awarded Sreedharan with the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, which is considered as the highest French order of merit for both civil and military. The TIME magazine named him as one of Asia’s Heroes in 2003. In 2021, Sreedharan joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The 88-year-old engineer is expected to be the saffron party’s chief minister candidate for Kerala in the 2021 Assembly election.
He was born on June 12, 1932 in Karukaputhur in the present-day Thrithala constituency in the district of Palakkad of Kerala to parents Keezhveettil Neelakandan Moosath and Ammaluamma. He did his primary education from Government Lower Primary School Chathannur, which was situated near Pattambi in Palakkad. He then went on to Basel Evangelical Mission Higher Secondary School and later to the Victoria College in Palghat. He completed his Civil Engineering degree from the Government Engineering College, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, which is currently known as Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Kakinada (JNTU Kakinada).
Sreedharan and former chief election commissioner of India T N Seshan were classmates in Basel Evangelical Mission Higher Secondary School and later in Victoria College in Palghat. T. N. Seshan is known for the electoral reforms he brought to the Indian politics. Seshan won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service in 1996.
In 1953, Sreedharan joined the Indian Railway Service of Engineers after clearing the Indian Engineering Services conducted by the UPSC. He was posted in the Southern Railway as a Probationary Assistant Engineer in December 1954. He has, over the years, worked on various projects leading different departments. In 1970, he was in charge of the implementation, planning, and design of the Kolkata Metro. Then he joined the Cochin Shipyard, which was undergoing a phase of unproductivity. He was instrumental in leading a turnaround of the shipyard. He then led the Konkan Railway, Delhi Metro, and the Kochi Metro. He was also the chief advisor for the Lucknow Metro. His contributions to the Delhi Metro have been the most notable in his decades-long career.
In 2021, Sreedharan joined the BJP and will contest from the Palakkad constituency in Kerala. Before joining, he had praised BJP and Narendra Modi on various occasions. He had also criticised Aam Aadmi Party’s move to reduce the metro fares in Delhi.