New Delhi: Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in an interaction with former judges, veterans of the armed forces, and intellectuals, underlined the development of urban metro transport in the past decade and said that the country will soon have the world's second-largest urban metro system in the next two and a half years.

Speaking to ANI at the gathering here, Hardeep Puri said, "In today's day, the fact that needs to be reiterated is that there are 1 crore people riding on the metro every day, and out of the 1 crore people, 73 lakh are the ridership of the capital region of Delhi."

"Today, even though the population of the city is expanding massively, it is still easy to get from one part of the city to the other within a reasonable period of time. More people are taking to urban transport," he said.

"Today we have 945 kilometres of metro system functioning in the country, and we have another 1,000 under construction. This will be done in the next two and a half years, and we will have the world's second-largest urban transport metro," said Puri.

Adding further, he said, "Who would have thought of it when Vajpayee ji started this metro system back in 2002?"

The Union Minister also threw light on the criminal justice system and the modernization of the police force and highlighted the progress made in the past decade under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Reading out from page 55 of the BJP manifesto, Hardeep Singh Puri said, "The manifesto reads about modernising police forces and will assist states in transforming the police into a tech-savvy, tech-trained, and tech-equipped force through the police modernization scheme."

"This is just one thought, but behind that is an entire ecosystem of reform that is already underway and will be accelerated in the next five years," he said.

Former Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi also spoke on the eve and praised Prime Minister Modi's government for encouraging "out of the box thinking."

"PM Modi's government is imbued with out-of-the-box thinking. The way to encourage out-of-the-box thinking is the speciality of the Modi government," he said.

"I have worked with past governments as IG Chandigarh, DG Goa, and then I was Delhi Police Commissioner in both union governments. The Modi government encourages the security establishment to think outside the box and solve complex issues.

He added further, "Intelligence gathering used to happen earlier also but it is the Modi government which has ensured that agencies work overtime to ensure no bomb attacks can take place."

"I spoke to poor people from Bihar and eastern UP earlier. Even though they get free power and freebies in Delhi, they said they want Modi to come to power in the centre as only Modi can develop Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and then they can go back to their hometowns as there will be jobs there!" added Bassi.

The former Police Commissioner also said that the Modi government has opened a new chapter, in the way that there have been no bomb attacks in Delhi in the past 10 years.

He also spoke on the expansion of the Delhi Metro and said, "There used to be a lot of 1970's traffic indiscipline and jams back then in the 1970s. The way the Delhi metro has been expanding under the central government is commendable.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri further said that interaction went beyond the developments made in the last 10 years and the subject of the metro system expansion in the country.

He said that the interaction provided informative suggestions from the distinguished guests as to what new initiatives should be taken in the third term of PM Narendra Modi.

"Many people were of the opinion that ever since PM Narendra Modi has been leading the country, the Pakistan factor has nearly diminished. There is a lot of movement in the PoK but only time will tell what is to happen and how things will unfold," he said.

(With Agency Inputs)