The concept of a mass rapid transit for Delhi first emerged from a traffic and travel characteristics study carried out in the city in 1969. Over the next several years, many official committees by a variety of government departments were commissioned to examine issues relating to technology, route alignment and governmental jurisdiction. In 1984, the Delhi Development Authority and the Urban Arts Commission came up with a proposal for developing a multi-modal transport system, which would consist of constructing three underground mass rapid transit corridors as well augmenting the city’s existing suburban railway and road transport networks. While extensive technical studies and search for financing the project were in progress, the city expanded significantly resulting in a two-fold rise in population and a fivefold rise in the number of vehicles between 1981 and 1998. Consequently, traffic congestion and pollution soared, as an increasing number of commuters took to private vehicles with the existing bus system unable to bear the load. An attempt at privatising the bus transport system in 1992 merely compounded the problem, with inexperienced operators plying poorly maintained, noisy and polluting buses on lengthy routes, resulting in long waiting times, unreliable service, extreme overcrowding, unqualified drivers, speeding and reckless driving.
To rectify the situation, the Government of India and the Government of Delhi jointly set up a company called the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on March 5, 1995. Physical construction work on the Delhi Metro started on October 1, 1998. After the previous problems experienced by the Calcutta Metro, which was badly delayed and 12 times over budget due to “political meddling, technical problems and bureaucratic delays”, the DMRC was given full powers to hire people, decide on tenders and control funds. As a result, construction proceeded smoothly, except from one major disagreement in 2000, where the Ministry of Railways forced the system to use broad gauge despite the DMRC’s preference for standard gauge. . The first line opened on December 24, 2002 and the entire Phase I of the project was completed in December 2005, on budget and almost three years ahead of schedule, an achievement described as “nothing short of a miracle”. Dr. E. Sreedharan, the Managing Director of the Metro during the Phase I construction, was declared “Indian of the Year for 2007” by CNN-IBN news channel.
Courtesy : wikipedia