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Reliance says it has 'absolutely no plan' to enter contract farming — urges government to stop vandalism amidst ongoing farmers' protests

Jan 4, 2021, 19:13 IST
Business Insider India
BCCL
  • Reliance Industries has filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court “to bring a complete stop to the illegal acts of vandalism by miscreants”.
  • One of the biggest fears around India’s ongoing farmers’ protest has been that big corporations owned by the likes of Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani would drive small farmers out of business.
  • So far, over 1,500 of the 9,000 towers of Reliance Jio in the two states have been damaged.
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One of the biggest fears around India’s ongoing farmers’ protest has been that big corporations owned by the likes of Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani would drive small farmers out of business. This had made the two billionaires land on protestors’ placards and led angry mobs of farmers to vandalise some of their properties like Jio’s mobile phone towers.

The escalating protests has now forced Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries to break its silence. “Reliance Retail Limited (RRL), Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), or any other affiliate of our parent company, i.e. Reliance Industries Limited have not done any “corporate” or “contract” farming in the past, and have absolutely no plans to enter this business,” said the company’s statement, post which the shares of RIL recovered from the day’s low.

Reliance Industries has also filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and “has sought the urgent intervention of government authorities to bring a complete stop to the illegal acts of vandalism by miscreants.” According to reports, over 200 towers of Reliance Jio were being vandalized every day in the states of Punjab and Haryana. So far, over 1,500 of the 9,000 towers of Reliance Jio in the two states have been damaged.

Students Federation of India (SFI) activists protest against Reliance Jio in the wake of the ongoing farmers agitation over the three new farm laws, in Kolkata on Dec 12, 2020. IANS

Claiming that Reliance Retail, which is the country’s largest retail distributor, has no vested interests, the company’s statement said, “It (Reliance Retail) 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 anger of the farmers had been rising against the corporate giant Jio, which, the farmers believed, to be a beneficiary of the country’s new farm laws.
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“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,” said the company’s statement.

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