After 15 years of eventful tenure as Delhi Metro chief, E. Sreedharan will hand over the baton to his colleague Mangu Singh on Saturday, who oversaw the construction of the swanky Airport Express Metro Line.
The 79-year-old Sreedharan, who joined the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in 1997, will formally hand over the charge to Singh, a civil engineer, at a brief ceremony at the Metro Bhawan at Barakhamba Road.
"Singh, 56, a civil engineer from Roorkee University, will assume charge as the new DMRC chief tomorrow (Saturday)," a DMRC spokesman said.
Singh was selected by a three-member panel consisting of union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna, Delhi Chief Secretary P.K. Tripathi and outgoing DMRC chief Sreedharan.
Singh, an Indian Railways Service of Engineers (IRSE) officer of the 1981 batch, worked with Sreedharan on the Kolkata Metro project. He has been associated with the Delhi Metro since its inception.
Joining DMRC in the capacity of chief engineer, Singh has been promoted to the post of executive director and then director (works) in the past 15 years.
Singh will be in-charge of Metro's Phase-III that will bring another 117 km of the capital under the Metro network.
The engineer is also in-charge for consultancy works undertaken by the Delhi Metro for planning such commuter systems in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Kochi.
"It is not right to compare the new person with Sreedharan or comment on him... We are confident he is capable as he has been picked up by a committee. He will definitely be able to do well," Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said.
However, sources say there are apprehensions in the Delhi government if anyone would be able to fit in Sreedharan's shoes. After all, the iconic 'Metro Man' changed the way Delhi commutes by constructing the modern transport system in a short span of time.
Sreedharan plans to spend his post-retirement days in his native village in Thrissur district of Kerala.
Earlier, in an interview, Sreedharan had said he would definitely quit in 2011 as the pace of work was becoming too hectic for him.
"I am not really indispensable to the DMRC. Very frankly, the only thing is the government felt that my continuing was necessary for the completion of Phase I and Phase II. As for Phase III in Delhi, I will be involved only in the initial work as in a project of this type there are so many decisions to be taken," Sreedharan said.
Delhi Metro's 160 trains make about 2,400 trips a day and carry about 1.8 million passengers on working days.