VIPs including E Sreedharan not to grace dais — Kochi Metro inauguration

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to accommodate "metro man" E. Sreedharan and two others on dais when he inaugurates Kochi Metro on Saturday. Those sharing the stage with Modi are Governor P Sathasivam, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The workers, who come from Assam, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh were treated to a traditional Kerala sadya organised by the Kochi Metro Rail Corporation at a hall near the city's MG Road.

According to the state government's suggestion, those who should be on the dais include Mayor Soumini Jain, Chief Secretary Nalini Netto, MLA PT Thomas, Ministers Thomas Chandy, E Chandrasekhan, Mathew T Thomas, Ramachandran Kadannapally, Secretary of Urban Development Ministry Rajeev Guha and KMRCL MD Elias George.

Sreedharan is the Principal Advisor of Delhi Metro, and was overseeing the Kochi Metro project since its inception in 2012. While Sreedharan said that he would join the inaugural function even as a spectator, Chennithala said there should have been more caution to avoid such controversies ahead of the launch of the Metro. However, a list of arrangements made public has triggered a controversy because E Sreedharan is not among the special or VIP guests who will be seated on a stage with Mr Modi. "I would certainly attend the function, " he told the media. "Kochi Metro is a dream project of Kerala".

A number of migrant workers on the soon-to-be-inaugurated Kochi Metro have been an integral part of the project, and ensured that it has released on time by not strike. It was up to the government to decide who should be invited for the event, " the Congress leader said.

  • Salvatore Jensen