Apr 05, 2004
Konkan Rail in E Sreedharan’s words
As a manager Sreedharan delegated power right down the line. He created 7 command zones with a Chief Engineer to head each of them. Then knowing that each zone can do 120 km in five years, he commenced work in all of them simultaneously. For his hand-picked contractors, he made generous advances and prompt payments. He also made available to them imported equipment free of cost. Financially, Konkan Railway pioneered the idea of a government project funded by public bonds.
But the eye-opening parts of the lecture must be served to cynical Indians who derisively condemn all politicians and civil servants. Sreedharan interacted with several of them and got them to co-operate fully. The ministers were amenable to reason and were forthcoming with help. Only once did a political slant stall the project.
Despite all this, the project took 7 years instead of the planned 5. Why? Sreedharan says it was the “Harshad Mehta scam. All of you are aware of it. The entire capital market dried up. We were not able to raise money either through taxable bonds or tax-free bonds.”
You can read the transcript at this link. There was a question and answer session that followed the lecture.