So,are you ready to take over from here? E Sreedharan asked Mangu Singh at an event held to mark his last day. Singh did not skip a beat. Not just me, said he firmly,The entire team will take over from here.
Sreedharan,Managing Director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and the man behind the changing face of the Indian public transport,had just returned from a work trip to Chennai. Officially retiring himself from service,he handed over the reins of the DMRC to Singh,after a highly-successful 16-year tenure as its chief,on Saturday.
Sreedharan (79),fondly known across the country as the Metroman, had joined the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in 1995 spending 16 years in the DMRC.
At 5.30 pm on Saturday,he headed straight from the airport to the Metro Bhawan and presented himself before an appreciative team of DMRC officials. Even as they shook hands and exchanged compliments over the success they had achieved,Sreedharan offered his special wooden chair to Singh so he would be occupying his seat,symbolically and otherwise.
Singh,of course,would have been more than happy,but sources say the chair is more likely to find itself as an exhibit in the Metro museum.
Besides spearheading the Delhi Metro project,Sreedharan is known for laying the Konkan Railway line. Taking his achievements into consideration,the Union government had awarded him the Padmashree in 2001. Now that he has hung up his boots,the Metroman plans to spend the rest of his days at his village in Thrissur,Kerala.
Singh (56),a civil engineer from Roorkee University,will assume office on Sunday,January 1. Having worked with Sreedharan on the Kolkata Metro project,Singh has been associated with the Delhi Metro since its inception. He had even overseen the functioning of the high-speed Airport Express Line.
An Indian Railways Service of Engineers (IRSE) officer of the 1981 batch,Singh was Sreedharans first choice as his successor. The Metroman,it is said,wanted an engineer of repute to take the DMRC mantle from him.