The burgeoning transport problem of Kolkata drew the attention of the city planners, the State Government and also the Government of India. It was soon realised that something had to be done and done fast to cope up with the situation. It was Dr. B.C. Roy, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, who for the first time conceived the idea in 1949 of building an Underground Railway for Kolkata to solve the problems to some extent. A survey was done by a team of French experts but nothing concrete came out. Efforts made to solve the problem by augmenting the existing fleet of public transport vehicles barely touched the fringe of the problem as the roads account for only 4.2% of the surface area in Calcutta as compared to 25% in Delhi and even 30% in other cities. With a view to finding out an alternative solution to alleviate the suffering of the Kolkatans, the Metropolitan Transport Project (Rlys) was set up in 1969. After detailed studies, the MTP (Rlys) came to the conclusion that there was no other alternative but to construct a Mass Rapid Transit System. The MTP (Rlys) had prepared a Master Plan in 1971 envisaging construction of five rapid transit lines for the city of Kolkata , totalling to a route length of 97.5km. Of these, the highest priority was given to the busy North-South axis between Dum Dum and Tollygunge over a length of 16.45 km and the work on this project was sanctioned on 1.6.72. The foundation stone of the project was laid by Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, on December 29, 1972 and the construction work started in 1973-74.
Since the commencement of construction, the project had to contend with several problems such as non-availability of sufficient funds till 1977-78, shifting of underground utilities, court injunctions, irregular supply of vital materials and others. But overcoming innumerable hurdles and crossing all barriers of disbelief, Calcutta Metro, India's first and Asia's fifth, became a reality on OCTOBER 24, 1984 with the commissioning of partial commercial service covering a distance of 3.40 km with five stations between Esplanade and Bhowanipur. This was quickly followed by commuter services on another 2.15 km stretch in the north between Dum Dum and Belgachia on NOVERMBER 12, 1984. The commuter service was extended upto Tollygunge on APRIL 29, 1986 covering a further distance of 4.24 km making the service available over an overall distance of 9.79 km and covering 11 stations. However, the services on the north section were suspended w.e.f. 26.10.92 as this isolated small section was not attractive to commuters. After a gap of over eight years, the 1.62 km Belgachia-Shyambazar section, along with Dum Dum -Belgachia stretch, was opened on AUGUST 13,1994. Another 0.71 km stretch from Esplanade to Chandni Chowk was commissioned shortly thereafter, on OCTOBER 2, 1994. The Shyambazar-Shovabazar-Girish Park (1.93 km) and Chandni Chowk-Central (0.60 km) sections were opened on FEBRUARY 19, 1995. Services on the entire stretch of Metro were introduced from September 27, 1995 by bridging the vital gap of 1.80 km in the middle. A dream thus came true.