E Sreedharan, popularly known as the ‘Metro Man’ for steering Delhi Metro and now the Kochi Metro projects, will be on the inauguration stage when Prime Minister Narendra Modi green-flags the first train of the metro corridor in the Kerala city this Saturday. Sreedharan’s inclusion on the stage was approved by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) after the Kerala government wrote to it requesting the same. Opposition leader in the Kerala Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala also got the clearance to be present on the stage.
As per the earlier approved list from the PMO, the Prime Minister, Governor, Chief Minister, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, K V Thomas, MP, Transport Minister Thomas Chandy and Mayor Saumini Jain are the seven persons who will be on the dais at the inaugural function, according to an official release. KMRL Managing Director Elias George, who will give the welcome address, will also not be on stage.
Sreedharan, who serves as the principal advisor of the DMRC, has been associated with the Kochi Metro project from the beginning. In fact, after the controversy erupted, Sreedharan said he was not disappointed or upset at not being included on the stage. He said restrictions are often put in place at events attended by the prime minister by the SPG.
The first phase of the metro project from Aluva to Palarivattom, a 13 km stretch comprising 11 stations, will be inaugurated Saturday by the prime minister in Kochi. This is the eighth metro project in the country and the first in a tier-II city. The second phase of the project will see an extension of 13 kms and 11 more stations to Thripunithura.
City authorities are planning to include bus networks and ferries as additional feeder networks to the Metro to give commuters seamless options to travel.