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Balasaheb Thackeray asked me why I had rejected Reliance's tender: Nitin Gadkari

Emphasising that there is no dearth of money, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said when he was Maharashtra minister, he rejected Reliance's tender and saved around ₹2,000 crore. 
Union minister Nitin Gadkari addressing the National Conference on 'Investment Opportunities - Highway, Transport And Logistics' on Friday.
Published on Dec 18, 2021 07:22 AM IST
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

At a meeting with investors on Friday, Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said there is no need to worry about the economic viability of road projects. Recalling his stint as the PWD minister of the Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra in the early 1990s, he said he rejected a tender submitted by Reliance, which not only upset Dhirubhai Ambani but also raised questions inside Maharashtra power corridors. "Even my ministerial colleagues and the chief minister (Manohar Joshi) were also angry with me. Balasaheb Thackeray asked me why I rejected that bid," Gadkari said.

Reliance quoted 3,600 crore for the expressway, MSRDC completed the project in less than half the amount, 1,600 crore, Gadkari said.

"I told them that I will raise money from the public and construct the expressway, the Worli-Bandra Sealink and 52 other flyovers in the city and all of them laughed at me," Gadkari said.

However, chief minister Manohar Joshi gave Gadkari a go-ahead and then the Maharashtra State Roads Development Corporation was created. The first MSRDC managing director, RC Sinha, used to go to all platforms of investors seeking funds. "At that time we used to go to the investors and now investors are coming to us. I was 36 years at that time. We used to show projects on our laptops and ask people to invest," the minister said. And when MSRDC went to capital markets, it overachieved its target of 500 crore and garnered 1,160 crore. "The second time when it wanted to raise 650 crore, MSRDC ended up with 1,100 crore," the minister said.

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"Even Ratan Tata told me that I am smarter than them as he never expected so much money could be raised from the market for infra projects," Gadkari said.

Talking about how he got the inspiration for the Build Operate Transfer policy from an electric good shop, he said he went to buy a TV and wanted to buy it on installments. "When the shopkeeper came to know that I was a minister, he told me that he will deliver me a new TV model. But I didn't get the TV set as promised because he would have realised that being a minister I may not pay up," the minister said. Then I thought if TV can be bought in installments, then why not tunnels and bridges," Gadkari said.

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