Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), in a petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court today, said Reliance has nothing to do with the three farm laws and in no way benefits from them. The company said that Reliance Retail, Jio Infocomm or any of its affiliate companies have not done any "corporate" or "contract" farming in the past, and have no plans to do so in future.
"Neither Reliance nor any of our subsidiaries has purchased any agricultural land, directly or indirectly, in Punjab or Haryana or anywhere else in India, for the purpose of "corporate" or "contract" farming. We have absolutely no plans to do so," the company said.
The company said the purpose of linking Reliance to these laws is to harm its businesses and reputation. It urged the government to intervene to stop the illegal acts of vandalism of its towers by miscreants.
"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," the petition stated.
The company said those who are attacking its properties have been instigated and aided by vested interests and its business rivals. "Taking advantage of the ongoing farmers' agitation, these vested interests have launched an incessant, malicious and motivated vilification campaign against Reliance," the company said.
It said Reliance Retail retails products of all categories, including food grains and staples, fruits and vegetables, apparels, medicines, electronic products of various brands from independent manufacturers and suppliers. "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," the company clarified.
The company said it "fully shares and supports the aspiration of Indian farmers to get a fair and profitable price on a predictable basis" for what they produce. "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," said RIL.
The company said far from hurting the interests of farmers, Reliance has benefited them and the Indian public at large by building India's largest organised retail business. "Jio's fully 4G network has provided world-class data connectivity to every single village in India at the most affordable rates," the company said, adding that Jio's network has become a lifeline for millions of farmers and others during Covid-19.
Reliance through its petition in the high court has sought punitive and deterrent action against miscreants and "vested interests" to run its businesses smoothly in Punjab and Haryana.
Over 1,500 Jio telecom towers have been damaged in Punjab, which has led to disruption in services in several parts of the state. Power supply to several towers that relay telecom signals was snapped and cables cut in many parts of Punjab. Notably, Jio is facing ire from the protesting farmers as they allege that some portions of the law are believed to be favouring large business groups, particularly Reliance Industries (RIL) and Adani Group. The farmers have been making calls to boycott RIL and Adani Group as a result of this perception.
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