How many people in Delhi know a man called E. Sreedharan` He is 70 +. He should have retired a long time ago with enough achievements to boast about to his grandchildren. Most of his working life he was yet another unknown engineer with the railways, until he took up the challenge of building the Konkan Railway that reduced the Mumbai-Kochi distance by one-third. Everybody said it wasn`t possible. Also, that it would cost too much money, will be a white elephant, will be technologically impossible, and will ravage the environment. The usual reasons why no new infrastructure can be built in India. There were PILs filed, processions taken out. He defied them all and built India`s first, genuine railway project of any notable size after the British. When the government was short of money, he raised public bonds and that was a decade ago when such things were unprecedented. Sreedharan did not stop there. Everybody laughed when plans to build a metro rail in Delhi were announced. But Sreedharan took up the project. He is a modest man. It is not the self-effacing version of modesty which politicians wear, but the genuine kind. E. Sreedharan, architect of the Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro Rail, believes that all his achievements were the result of team efforts. Focus and passion. Probably these are the keywords. But when he is asked about the mantra of success, Sreedharan again downplays his role. "I have been lucky enough to pick up the right people for the right job," he says, sitting in his sparsely furnished office. After the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was set up, one of the first things Sreedharan did as managing director was to instill a "sense of corporate culture". "In private organizations run by the Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis, it is not difficult to stick to deadlines," says Sreedharan. "The word of the boss is final." In a government set-up, where there are too many bosses and too few juniors, it is next to impossible. But not totally impossible, as Sreedharan, has proved. He believes in working with slim organizations. While it took more than two decades to build the Kolkata metro ("The result of bad planning," says Sreedharan), Delhi stuck to its deadline of December 2002. In Delhi, he did not have to face many hurdles. There were no stay orders, no dharnas. People in the Old Delhi area (Chandni Chowk) did object to their houses being demolished. But the DMRC used the tunnel boring machine technology to solve this problem. It has ensured that there were no major traffic bottlenecks, no demolition. Sreedharan insists he does not have any special skills to get the best out of people. "I always found that people cooperate if you work for a good cause," he says. Is he a workaholic` "No," says he. "I am committed to my work but not a workaholic." His colleagues agree that he does not believe in making people stay on in the office if they have finished their given task. "He even takes a nap in the afternoons," says a colleague. "I believe that when an officer is given a particular task, he should be made responsible to finish it," says Sreedharan. He almost has an obsession with deadlines. (In the early years of his career, it earned him 20 transfers.) Every officer in DMRC keeps a digital board which shows the number of days left for the completion of the next target. He thanks God for giving him success. "I am a religious person but religion does not mean going to temples. To me it means leading a virtuous life," he says. Mr. Sreedharan wakes before dawn, meditates, reads the Bhagavad Gita and does yoga every morning. He also walks 45 minutes in the evenings. Success and virtue, a rare combination in today's world, But they run side by side in Sreedharan's life. Like rail tracks. Below are two links from which one can see the way Sreedharan functions to bring world class Metro to Delhi. Sreedharan Part -1 Sreedharan Part -2

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