The concept of a metro for Delhi was first formalized in the Delhi Master Plan of 1960, and the legal framework for the metro was laid out in theMetro Railways (Construction of Works) Act of 1978.Actual work towards building the metro, however, only started in March 5,1995, when the DMRC was established to provide a rail-based transportsystem that will alleviate Delhi’s ever growing transport congestion andvehicular pollution. The government of Japan has contributed more than half the cost of this project, through a soft loan disbursed by DMRC’s major funding agency, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).Delhi’s metro rail system, to be constructed in four phases covering245 kilometers, is scheduled to be finished in 2021. Today three functioninglines connect central Delhi to east, north, and southwest Delhi.DMRC is responsible not only for construction of the system butalso for its operation and maintenance. It has 450 personnel in itsconstruction department and 3,000 staff for system operation andmaintenance.Physical construction work started on October 1, 1998 Aside from one major disagreement in 2000, where the Ministry of Railways forced the system touse broad gauge despite the DMRC's preference for standard gauge,construction proceeded smoothly. The first line opened on December 24,2002and the entire Phase I of the project was completed in December 2005,on budget and almost three years ahead of schedule, an achievementdescribed as "nothing short of a miracle".