The Rs 114.2bn ($US 1.8bn) project is due to be completed within five years and will be implemented in two stages.

The first phase involves building a 16.6km north-south line connecting the densely-populated Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation area with Swargate. This will include an 11.6km elevated section and a 5km tunnel. Stage 2 will be a 14.7km east-west line from Vanaz to Ramvadi, which will be fully elevated.

The project will be implemented by Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (Maha-Metro), a 50:50 joint venture between the Indian government and the state of Maharashtra.

The existing Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited (NMRCL) - a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up by the Indian government and Maharashtra - will be reconstituted into Maha-Metro.

The new joint venture will supervise work on all metro projects in Maharashtra except for those within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

Pune’s population has surged in recent years from 3.57 million in 2001 to 4.99 million in 2011, and is forecast to continue growing to 6.9 million in 2021 and 7.73 million in 2031.

The city’s metro project was conceived a decade ago and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation completed a Detailed Project Report in 2009.