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In a surprise move, ‘Metroman’ E Sreedharan announced he was quitting active politics on Thursday, around eight months after losing the Assembly elections in home state Kerala.

“Many people do not know that I am 90 years old now. I am in the advanced stage as far as my age is considered. When I say I am quitting active politics, it doesn’t mean I am leaving politics. When I lost the polls, I felt sad…” Sreedharan said.

“I was never a politician as I am a bureaucrat and even though I am not going to be active in politics, I can always serve the people in other ways. I have three Trusts and I have work in that to be done,” the Padma Vibhushan awardee said.

Sreedharan, who gained the moniker ‘Metroman’ for his work as managing director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation between 1995 and 2012, had joined the BJP in February ahead of Assembly elections in Kerala. Sreedharan was touted by a section of the Kerala BJP unit as the chief ministerial candidate of the party, and fought from Palakkad. He lost to young Congress legislator Shafi Parambil by a margin of 3,859 votes.

Speaking to reporters, Sreedharan again lashed out at Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s dream K-Rail project. “In one sentence, I will say this — K-Rail project is ill-conceived, badly planned and very badly handled,” he said.

If completed, the K-Rail project will set up a 529.45 km corridor connecting Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod and a train which will run this distance will complete its journey in around four hours.

“Loans are being taken to pay salaries and at the moment I will say, wait for 3 to 4 years. The present K-Rail project is not at all good for the state as lot of land has to be acquired and more than 25,000 people have to be displaced. According to the plan, any high speed rail on land is not advisable as it creates lot of issues,” added Sreedharan.

The time-frame for completion of this project according to Vijayan is five years. Sreedharan said that when he came to know of it, he wrote to the CM on the costing.

“They said the cost of the project is around Rs 64,000 crore. Generally, there are two types of cost, one is estimated cost and the other is completion cost. When I raised this issue, I got a reply stating that this is the completion cost. This means the estimate cost should be around Rs 35,000 crore. But then this is wrongly estimated and done just to get sanction,” said Sreedharan.

“They say it will be completed in 5 years’ time and let me tell you, I am ready to cooperate in it, but not with this project as even if there are 10 Sreedharans it will take 10 years,” he added.

(With IANS inputs)

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