Amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation surrounding the farm laws passed last September, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on Monday said it had not done any “corporate” or “contract” farming in the past, and had absolutely no plans to enter this business.
The firm also said neither Reliance nor any of its subsidiaries had purchased any agricultural land, directly or indirectly, in Punjab, Haryana or anywhere else in India, for the purpose of “corporate” or “contract” farming and had absolutely no plans to do so.
The submissions were made in a petition filed by RIL in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, that sought the intervention of government authorities to bring a stop to vandalisation of mobile towers.
The matter will come up for hearing on January 5, advocate Aashish Chopra, counsel for the petitioner told, The Hindu .
In the backdrop of several cases of vandalism of its mobile towers and disruption of telecom services in Punjab during the ongoing farmers’ agitation against farm laws, RIL has approached the courts.
In an official statement, RIL said it had moved the High Court through its subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL).
In its petition, the company submitted, “The miscreants indulging in vandalism have been instigated and aided by vested interests and our business rivals. Taking advantage of the ongoing farmers’ agitation near the national capital, these vested interests have launched an incessant, malicious and motivated vilification campaign against Reliance, which has absolutely no basis in truth.”
It added, “These acts of violence have endangered the lives of thousands of its employees and caused damage and disruption to the vital communications infrastructure, sales and service outlets run by its subsidiaries in the two States (Punjab, Haryana).”
The statement said the facts establish that Reliance had nothing whatsoever to do with the three farm laws currently debated in the country, and in no way benefited from them.
“Reliance Retail Limited (RRL), Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), or any other affiliate of our parent company, that is, Reliance Industries Limited, had not done any “corporate” or “contract” farming in the past, and had absolutely no plans to enter this business,” it said.
The statement said Reliance Retail sold products of all categories including food grains and staples, fruits and vegetables, items of daily use, apparels, medicines, electronic products of various brands from independent manufacturers and suppliers in the country.
“It does not purchase any food grains directly from farmers. It has never entered into long-term procurement contracts to gain unfair advantage over farmers or sought that its suppliers buy from farmers at less than remunerative prices, nor will it ever do so,” it added.
“Reliance and its affiliates fully share and support the aspiration of Indian farmers to get a fair and profitable price on a predictable basis for what they produce with exemplary hard work, innovation and dedication. Reliance seeks significant augmentation of their incomes on a sustainable basis, and pledges to work towards this goal. Indeed, we shall insist on our suppliers to strictly abide by the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism, and/or any other mechanism for remunerative price for farm produce, as may be determined and implemented by the government,” the statement added.
In Punjab, over the past few days, over 1,500 mobile towers were affected on account of physical damage or disruption of power supply. The State has a total of 21,306 mobile towers spread across its 22 districts.