Delhi became the seat of Government of India in 1911 when the then Imperial Government shifted its capital from Calcutta to Delhi. Initially the capital was located on the Ridge, north of the walled city of Delhi. As this site was not found suitable to serve as the seat of the Government, a new city, namely, New Delhi, located to the south of the walled city was planned. Construction work of New Delhi started in 1912 under the supervision of renowned city planners and architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker. Construction of New Delhi was completed in 1931 when the seat of the Government was shifted to this new place. The city has continued to grow since then at a fast pace.
National Capital Territory of Delhi today covers an area of 1486 sq Kms and is a Union Territory with all powers of State Government. The history of planning a Metro Project for Delhi dates back to 70's. The Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) undertook the first exhaustive study on traffic and travel characteristics of Delhi in 1969-70. While bringing out extensive data describing the traffic and travel characteristics, it developed mathematical models to project travel demand. By examining several alternatives, it recommended for a Mass Rapid Transit Network for Delhi. Metropolitan Transport Team (MTT), Indian Railways, has reviewed the above schemes. MTT sought for some modifications to recommendations of CRRI and planned for a well knit Mass Rapid Transit System for the capital city of India. The system comprised of 36 Km of underground corridors aligned two axes North-South and East-West Corridors and 96 Kms of surface rail corridors. Metropolitan Transport Project (MTP-R, set up by the Ministry of Railways, Government of India) prepared an engineering plan to construct the MTR system.
Since CRRI proposal was based on transport demand projection upto the year 1981, it was assigned to Town & Country Planning Organisation the work of further projection of demand to the year 2001. It's concept plan envisaged a network of 58 km underground & 195 km surface corridors. As a part of the techno-economic feasibility study, subsoil exploration were conducted on four specific trunk routes and by the side of existing railway tracks and recommended for taking up pilot projects.
Delhi Development Authority (DDA) prepared a perspective plan for Delhi (MPD-2001) in 1984 and recommended for a multi modal transport system comprising of 200 km of Light Rail Transit System, 10 Km of Tramway, an extension to surface rail system and extensive road network. The Urban Arts Commission suggested some modifications to the proposal of DDA and recommended for the development of the existing Ring Railway with three radial underground MRT corridors.
Due to rapid growth especially along the western and eastern parts of the city, a study group was appointed by the Ministry of Railways, Govt. of India to recommend a precise alignment for the East-West corridor and in 1987 further appointed a Task Force for assessing the choice of exact construction technology. While suggesting some changes to the alignment of study group, it recommended for pilot project based on M-Bahn Magnetic Levitation System in case of negation suggested for replacement by Light Rail Transit System.
Feasibility Report on Integrated Multi Modal Mass Rapid Transport System of Delhi (IMMRTS) prepared by RITES recommended for three-component system comprising of Rail corridors, Metro corridors and dedicated bus way totaling to 184.5 Km and further addition of 14 km increased to 198.5 km. The total network contains 16 sections to be implemented in a sequence based on passenger kilometer carried per kilometer length of each section. The first phase of the network, now (commissioned) comprises of 65.11 km of route length with 13.01 km underground called Metro corridor and 52.10 km surface / elevated called Rail Corridor.