Traffic-choked Delhi makes metro breakthrough

New Delhi's metro train system, which residents and tourists hope will ease congestion in the Indian capital, made a key breakthrough Monday by linking up with the satellite town of Gurgaon.

Delhi has suffered worsening traffic chaos as poor infrastructure struggles to cope with rapid population growth and the metro is seen as crucial to government attempts to modernise one of the world's largest cities.

Gurgaon is a leading economic hotspot in India and home to a growing number of multinational companies, glass apartment blocks and huge, air-conditioned shopping malls.

The latest stretch of metro links Delhi's south suburbs with Gurgaon, with the line set to open fully next month. Further lines are scheduled to be completed across the city in time for the Commonwealth Games in October.

Pritha Sahai, a graphic designer, said her commute to work in Gurgaon would be transformed by the expanding metro.

"The whole journey takes me close to an hour to drive but now it will be a cheap journey of just 25 minutes," she said.

Delhi's population has grown from 14 million people in 2001 to 17.5 million in 2009, according to official figures released this month.

The number of vehicles more than doubled from three million in 1999 to 6.3 million in 2009.

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