E Sreedharan — popular as the ‘Metro man’ — is set to make a comeback to his erstwhile parent organisation, Indian Railways. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has named Sreedharan as the head of a “one-man committee” to chalk out for the national transporter a proper system and procedure to ensure accountability and transparency.
The order for the 82-year old Sreedharan was issued by Rail Bhawan on Thursday. In his individual capacity, Sreedharan is free to co-opt anyone he chooses to work out strategies/procedures for General Managers and other functionaries for taking all commercial decisions, including that of tendering.
This comes right after Prabhu made it categorically clear to the Railway Board that files for tendering and procurement should not come to the minister at all. One of the terms of reference for the Sreedharan “committee” is to help Railways put in place a system that enables delegation of such responsibilities to GMs.
Sreedharan has been asked to give an interim report in two weeks and then a final report within a period not exceeding three months. The committee has also been empowered to recommend a professional organisation to be engage, if necessary, to achieve this goal.
“The committee would suggest the system and procedure and a manual of instruction to be followed to implement the above. The Management Information System to be used for proper and time-bound disposal of the cases,” the order says.
Sreedharan’s last assignment with Railways was as one of the members of the High-Level Safety Review Committee headed by Anil Kakodkar in 2012. As the first Managing Director, he is best known for building the Delhi Metro and running it as an efficient transport system. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2001, and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008.