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'Metro man' E Sreedharan on Thursday sought to downplay the controversy over the omission of his name from the list of dignitaries who will share the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Kochi Metro inauguration on June 17. Sreedharan, here to oversee the final round of preparations for Saturday's event, said there was nothing unusual in the decision of not being invited on the stage as such restrictions were usual in a programme being attended by the prime minister. "Please don't make a controversy over the issue.
Prime Minister's security is important," Sreedharan said, adding that the programme should be conducted as per the preparations made by the prime minister's security agencies. "I have no issues. Since I am a worker here, there is no need for an invitation," Sreedharan said when asked about the PMO's decision. The Kerala government yesterday shot off a letter to the PMO to accommodate three more dignitaries, including Sreedharan, the DMRC Principal Advisor popularly known as the 'metro man', on the dais during the inaugural function. As per the approved list from the prime minister's office (PMO), the prime minister, governor, chief minister, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, MP K V Thomas, state minister Thomas Chandy and Mayor Saumini Jain are the seven persons who will be on the dais at the inaugural function. The government also wanted the PMO to include names of the opposition leader in the state Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala and P T Thomas, the local MLA, in the list. Meanwhile, Sreedharan indicated that he would not be a part of the second phase construction of Kochi Metro. The Kochi Metro Rail Limited is capable of carrying out the construction works of the second phase of Kochi Metro, he said.