Union Minister Nitin Gadkari urged investors to invest more in infrastructure projects for good returns while recalling a past event during his ministership in the Maharashtra government when he had made Reliance Industries founder Dhirubhai Ambani upset by rejecting the company's tender for the Mumbai-Pune expressway in 1995.
Addressing the National Conference on "Investment Opportunities in Highways, Transport and Logistics" in Mumbai today, Gadkari said, "Today's conference in Mumbai reminds me of my time as state minister in 1995 when I rejected a tender by Reliance for the Mumbai-Pune express highway. Dhirubhai (Ambani) was there at that time, and he was very upset with me. My chief minister was also upset and so was Balasaheb Thackeray. They asked me why did you do it?"
"I said we will raise money from the public for that project and other projects like Bandra-Worli Sea link and highways; everyone was laughing at me. We went to several investors for the project, and now investors are coming to us," he added.
Citing the example of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited (MSRDC), the union minister said that it was built at almost half the price."We set up MSRDC project at almost half the price. Reliance was quoting Rs 3,600 crores but we completed the project in just Rs 1,600 crores and saved Rs 2,000 crore," he said.
Gadkari said the road has been monetized twice by the state government. " In 1996, it was monetized for Rs 3,000 crore and recently it has got Rs 8,000 crore. So a project which was built in Rs 1,600 crores has earned Rs 11,000 crores till now," he added.
He said, "I gave you this example just to make you understand the importance of investment in roads and infrastructure. It will definitely give you good returns."