As PWD Minister for Maharashtra, from 1995-99, Gadkari left an indelible mark on the development map of India. He was instrumental in introducing and effectively implementing PPP (Public Private Partnership) popularly known as BOT, by completing many development projects. This unique concept, popular in western countries, but frowned upon by Indian politicians, not only made the major artery roads connecting cities better and well maintained, but also helped to release huge amount of budget funds earmarked for such roads, to be utilised for rural road development. The concept grew into what we see today as “Golden Quadrilateral” and many more projects by NHAI on one side and “Pantpradhan Gram Sadak Yojana” on the other.
In a lighter vein a politician is described as a person who promises to build bridges in his pre-election speech and is able to convince the people after 5 years why they could not be built. Far from all this the most remarkable and outstanding feature of the tenure of Nitin Gadkari as Minister for Public Works Department, in the Government of Maharashtra, was that he delivered even those things which he had never promised or rather he delivered much more than what he had promised. He completed development works worth Rs 6000 crores and provided employment to 10 lakh educated jobless youths of the State.
Today lots of flyovers and bridges in Maharashtra stand testimony to what Nitin Gadkari delivered through his vision and confidence by completing all the projects within the deadline, with utmost adherence to quality and standards., And he could achieve all this in the most cost efficient manner. In a span of four years nearly 98% of the total population in Maharashtra got road connectivity and many districts completed the target of 100% road connectivity. He raised loans for rural connectivity also. This aimed to connect 13736 remote villages of the state, which had remained unconnected by road since independence.
He took up the target of completing the “Sagari Marg” which was a long awaited dream of the people of Konkan region. During the four years of his regime, this dream became true and Konkan got the link of “Sagari Marg” barring two large bridges in the sea creek.
He wanted fast track projects to be completed in a time bound manner. He established Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, (MSRDC) a fully Govt. owned company. MSRDC went to the capital market and raised Rs. 1180 crores. This was the first and the largest offering in the capital market by any govt. owned corporation in those times. Thus MSRDC could undertake large projects like constructing 55 flyovers in Mumbai at a cost of Rs. 1500 crores, Mumbai Pune Expressway at a cost of Rs.1500 crores and many other bridges, roads and bypass projects in various parts of Maharashtra. The prestigious Worli-Bandra Sea Link project, was initiated during his tenure as a minsiter,
Always open to and aggressive in adopting new technology, he undertook complete computerisation programme for his department. P.W.D. was the first governmental department to do so. Mr. Gadkari implemented a scheme of self employment for the civil engineers. These unemployed engineers were registered as contractors and PWD gave them work upto Rs.15 lakh through tender along with an advance of Rs. 40,000/- . Through this scheme 18000 civil engineers got the opportunity to work independently. He promoted the concept of new technology in construction field thereby, encouraging contractors to bring in state of the art construction equipment, which improved the quality of work as well as the economics.