Has Sreedharan set an example by resigning?

July 12, 2009

INDIA/The chief of Delhi’s metro rail system Elattuvalapil Sreedharan resigned on Sunday after a section of an overhead bridge under construction gave way and crushed five workers to death.

This is the second such accident involving the mass transit system in less than 12 months. Last October, a section of an under-construction flyover in the capital’s Lakshminagar area collapsed and fell on a bus, killing at least two persons.

The Metro project, led by the 77-year-old Sreedharan, came under rare media criticism following the deaths.

Sreedharan has enjoyed strong government support so far and is not shackled by the delays, cost-overruns and red tape that have plagued big projects in India for decades.

His reputation , access to officials including the prime minister, and a mandate to jump obstacles himself rather than wait for civic authorities, have enabled him to get results.

The widely acclaimed chief’s resignation could also come as a serious blow to Delhi Metro projects scheduled to be completed before the Commonwealth Games.

Sreedharan’s resignation comes at a time when Nandan Nilekani, another engineer-entrepreneur and co-founder of Infosys Technologies, quit his job to head a government agency.

Do you feel the Delhi metro chief took the right decision and will his resignation be accepted?


Sreedharan in right earnest accepted the responsibility and tendered his resignation. But I think and hope his resignation should not be accepted as it is not that easy to get a replacement for Sreedharan. On the contrary Manmohan Sigh should see that Sreedharan is given more financial and administrative support whatever is required to see the project completed effectively and efficiently in time.
In such huge projects, though very unfortunate, it is not practical to eliminate the possibility for some mishaps, some time or the other.

Posted by NB Nair | Report as abusive

Resigning is perhaps the worst thing to do in this situation. The current situation requires leadership and taking action to understand the root issues and mitigation of risks to ensure that this does not happen again.

Mr Sreedharan should be employed to now take reactive measures in the short term, more importantly deal with the problems and use this tragic incident to make good on bad. Make the issues known and drive for change to bring in real measures of safety and regulation for future development and deployment of Metro infrastructure.

Resigning is all too easy – Giving up, stepping down and letting someone else come in and deal with the mess is not right. This line of thinking has to change.

Posted by Rahul | Report as abusive

This situation requires leadership and not resignation. Taking responsibility requires a proactive look at all issues and the mitigation of risks to stop such tragic incidents from occurring. Stepping down and walking away is all too easy at this stage. This line of thinking that most Indian leaders adopt in a time of crisis has to change.

I believe Mr Sreedharan should use this opportunity to discuss the failings and highlight the required measures and corrective actions that are needed urgently. Resignation is not right and should not be accepted.

Posted by Rahul | Report as abusive

We cannot deny the chances of accidents in a project of this scale. It is of utmost importance that Delhi should witness a successful completion of the project. At present there is no better person than Shreedharan who can complete it in time. Looking at the past record, I would say that India needs such people.

It is equally important that the we should find out the cause of such an accident and minimize its occurrence in the future. We should also need to punish the culprits so that such lapses doesn’t take place in future.

But a visionary and a leader like Mr. Shreedharan should be given a chance. India has benefited immensely from it and we want him to be there a bit longer. I am sure that his resignation would be rejected.

Mr. Shreedharan, I would like to say that important matters should not be left in the mercy of the less important ones. Country needs you and it is your duty to serve it to the best of abilities.

Posted by Rajarshi Rakshit | Report as abusive

If resignations are tendered & accepted after each fatal accident, India would be groping without any competent men to run corporations. If we compare the quality of Contractors during the early phase of DMRC and now, perhaps some pictures would emerge. During the initial years the contractors were all western. They have very regards for quality & safety. Despite tall claims on paper, Indian companied do compromise on these issues. A couple of Construction companies that are sincere on quality & safety like L&T and HCC are generally priced out during tendering. But one thing DMRC should take responsibility is that it leaves too much to contractors perhaps because its a very lean organization and does not wish to commit too much manpower of its own.

Posted by Empy | Report as abusive

Sreedharan is one of best managers India has seen. People like him needs to continue to hold and lead greater projects. I am puzzled to see why this time Sreedharan put his papers, while there was also similar and larger mishaps during his tunure at Konkan Rail construction. In either case, it is commendable that he has set a right example. But India needs more such examples to quote and even more managers of his calibre to lead in Infra building. Hope is continues with DMRC, if not is given bigger assignments.

Posted by AK | Report as abusive

Whatever happened is certainly very unfortunate for Project and people who went through it. It is undoubtedly a big blow to DMRC reputation as a safe operator.

Over the matter of resignation by Mr. E.Sreedharan, I have a slightly different opinion. Rather than the honest way of taking moral responsibility, it appears to be a possible trick to save the responsible DMRC officer from punishment. With the memories of earlier accident still fresh, there must have been a lot of pressure on Delhi Govenment and on DMRC itself to sack the concerned Chief Engineer or the Director of DMRC. Avoiding a thought of any such action, Mr. Sreedharan comes as an ideal Manager taking responsibility of the Team and submitting his papers. Taking all of it to him, he saved the responsible one from rightly due punishment.

I personally want Mr. Sreedharan to continue as Big Boss of the Project. He has unmatched qualities and wonderful capabilities to take the Project through daunting deadlines with quality work but at the same time there has to be punishment to the persons responsible in DMRC. Simply stamping it as ‘Contractor’s mistake’ couldnt be accepted all the time.

Posted by PAWAN VIJ | Report as abusive

No. The resignation should not be accepted.
Metro is a large project. Conisidering its vastness and speed there can be accidents.

Posted by c k nayak | Report as abusive

A single honest person in the system can only set an example and inspire others to work in a similar fashion with work ethics.I don’t think Mr.Sreedharan is responsible for the metro mishap.These accidents happen because of the filthy political setup in Delhi and unethical sub contractors who are working for delhi metro.
I hope Ms.Sheila Dikshit will remove the weeds present in her kingdom.

Posted by vikramnag | Report as abusive

not accepting the resignation of sh.sreedharan,CM,delhi has done great work in the interest of nation.persons like sreedharan born only once .

Posted by gopal | Report as abusive

what happend was truly unfotunate and tragic..In the span close to 7 years of Mr Sridharan’s tenure as Chief of DMRC this was the second…
But we should not forget the remarkable work done by him, giving india its first Metro of it’s kind and that too before schedule.
I just came to know as to meet the deadline ( getting Metro done Commonwealth ’10) many supervisor were assigned various jobs , and at a time varios sites were in progress.
Practically it was impossible for Mr Sri to look at every pillar , the juniors \ labour at that very site could not judge the what the impact can be of that small crack which led to downfall of that very pillar…
In this case where Mr Sri was least responsible of this mishap , and offered his resignation.
Its very rare to see…
We should be very fortunate to have a person like Sri handelling DMRC.
If our politicians could learn ever 10% from Mr Sri, India will have a bright future.

Posted by Akshat | Report as abusive

All the comments posted earlier are of the opinion that Mr Sreedharan has to continue .In my opinion what he has done is right .Government should accept his resignation and appoint a talented person in place of him. I don’t think he is the only person in India to lead this project. I do agree that he has done an excellent work .But we have to know that there are lots of engineering marvel in the world constructed without any fatal accident like the Buri towers, Oresund bridge etc .One cannot blame the Sub Contractor for everything.
In Oresund Bridge the accident rate is 11 in Million work hours .Just imagine the safety that they are following .Time has come for Mr Sreedharan to retire and give way a for someone .Two major accidents in less than a year for me is a serious issue and that to with the loss of few life’s.

Posted by Jey Subramanium | Report as abusive

No. resignation should not be accepted in any case.One person who is struggling to run against the system and determined to change the way we look at infrastructure projects should not be made to go out of the system because of an accident.
It was an accident and can happen anywhere and its been there several times, the over bridge collapsed due to disbalancing and its not like other already working bridges that collapse.CM,delhi has done a good job by not accepting the resignation.We dont want metro projects in hands of corrupt bureaucrats

Posted by Nitin | Report as abusive

Mr.E Sreedharan’s tendering resignation may be a kind of protest against political intervention from people in the high places.In India there is no govt sponsered projects worth the name that does not enforce its influence for the benefit of a select band of people.I am sure even project metro inspite of Mr Sreedharan on the helm may not have been spared.What we need is a political audit to weed out even a remote political influence to project Metro.Left alone I am sure Mr.Sreedharan will once again come unscratched in the public eye


I am glad that his resignation has not been accepted.

People of his integrity are few in our country.

Way to go “Metroman”.
He is an inspiration to men/women of all ages.

Posted by Hari kiran Reddy | Report as abusive

IN INDIA, We dont give importance to human lifes. We take the human fatalities in road accidents, train accidents, factories, killing by goons, mafias, killing by terrorist attacks… all with a sorry note… and just leave it.

One gentle man/ lady has written

//In such huge projects, though very unfortunate, it is not practical to eliminate the possibility for some mishaps, some time or the other//!

Projects bigger than these , much bigger than these can be executed without loss of any life.

We work based on Engineering, there are means and ways to carry out every work. It has to be scuratanised and confirmed before we proceed to work. This accident is due to careless, in sincere way of doing work, this is due to lack of procedures or lapse in following the procedures!

As an Engineer, I say that these works are not impossible tasks! We are not lifting Himaalayaas, we are just lifting steel girders.

Thousand years ago, pyramids were built in EGYPT.

I Request leaders to visit the Big Temple at Tanjore in south India, and see the massive single rock stone being positioned at the top of the Tomb- thousand years ago- no cranes, no diesel, no petrol no electricity at that time!

I dont want to MR. Sridaharn to be victimised, but we cant leave the responsibilty to supervisors, junior engineer, masions, helpers…etc.

If the Top Boss is strict in adopting the safety proceedures, then every one would have to follow down the line!

If a General Manager of a Railway division visit any GATE CROSSING only once in a year, and check whether the gate keeper is in duty, not drunk..then divisional Managers would check the same once in a Month. If the Generala Manger is just only signing the files in the room, the Junior Mangaers will also do the same only!

Posted by PURAM BOAKKU | Report as abusive

BTW, in the light of recent events,can we dare hope that the media will break its strange silence on the Skybus Metro?
Welcome to:http://spriteleesathya.blogspot.com/2 009/07/art-377-indias-globohomos.html
Art 377 & India’s Globo Homos


this is very unfortunate that metro project has witnessed two fatal incidents living behind human casualties. Sreedhran would have felt his responsibilities behind these incidents happened just in 12 months and thats why he has resigned. I don’t know the nitty gritty of entire project but this resignation is pretty disappointing in the context of project completion time limits. This is the high time that govt should look into the matters, lean lessons and should take corrective actions swiftly rather just forming a committee to investigate the case. Let’s see how things will move forward in coming days.

Posted by Pranav Desai | Report as abusive

Efficient execution does not always imply compromise on safety. Best examples are heavy industries in Korea or Japan. In such big shipyards, top class ships are delivered on a weekly basis. The difference is the emphasis on safety.which shall be given the highest priority. Safety is a culture brought in through sincere efforts from management through education, awareness and stringent measures. This process in itself happens slowly, but it is utmost important to develop considering the vast infrastructural projects in the pipeline in India.
Question is not about somebody resigning or remaining; but how fast we recognize and act.

Posted by R. Cherian | Report as abusive

project are unique and it has diffent event and activity to complete the project.in project there is risk which impact the project. at this impact time leadership quality of the project manager is very important.
when any accident take place the manager should give the reason why such type of accident take and avoid such accident in future. just taken the moral responsibily and resign from job not right decision. give reason of accident and avoid such accident in future is important.
as india need metro rail project in urban city.so E.Shreedharan not to resign from the job and avoid the accident in future.

Posted by anand dalal | Report as abusive

Look at the confidence level? Does any other person dare to do this? Every one love the position but not the job or work. Taking his success rate in to account this incident is just a minor mole in his career…

Posted by SIRIGERI GOUTAM SHETTY | Report as abusive

DMRC is one of the most challenging projects of utmost national importance that needs an aggressive leadership . Mr Shreedharan has provided an unparalleled leadership and management support to this project for a long time. DMRC is now facing even tougher challenges like growing connectivity and thus complexities, budget restrictions and tougher time lines because of approaching common-wealth games. Though, a mishap in construction business is not rare, in modern days safety is considered primary. So for me, what’s more important for a nation like ours, is to keep the pace of progress maintained and steady. Mr Shreedharan seems to have over reacted on this situation. He could have had accepted the moral responsibility of the mishap in some other way, resigning is no option out at this moment. Not at-the-least what we Indians were looking out from him at this stage.

Posted by Anmol | Report as abusive

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