Amid boycott of Reliance products including the burning of Jio sim cards and vandalism of Reliance telecom towers, over the perception that the company is a beneficiary of the Centre’s new farm laws, Reliance Industries on Monday (January 4) clarified that it neither buys foodgrains directly from farmers nor is in the business of contract farming or has such plans in future.
Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) has filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking “the urgent intervention of government authorities to bring a complete stop to the illegal acts of vandalism (of telecom towers) by miscreants. RJIL also sought action against those involved in damaging its infrastructure and other properties in the state amid the agitation against the three farm laws.
The high court on Tuesday (January 5) issued notices to Punjab and the Centre in response to Reliance Jio’s plea.
“Reliance Retail has never entered into long-term procurement contracts to gain an 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 owned by Mukesh Ambani said in a statement.
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Stating that it has nothing to do with the three farm laws, the company said, “As such, the sole nefarious purpose of linking the name of Reliance to these laws is to harm our businesses and damage our reputation,” it said.
The company also clarified that its retail unit which sells food grains and staples, fruits and vegetables and items of daily use through its stores, “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.
Thousands of farmers are protesting at the borders of Delhi, demanding a rollback of the newly-introduced farm laws. With the laws providing a free market to the seller and buyer, out of the ambit of traditional mandis, farmers fear the norm would put them at the mercy of big corporates who in turn will decide the price. They also fear the new laws will make government-guaranteed minimum support price (MSP) redundant.
According to reports, protesters in Punjab and Haryana have allegedly almost 1,500 telephone towers of Jio, an act that Reliance accuses its rivals of having instigated.
Reliance Industries which operates supermarkets, hypermarkets and wholesale stores is said to be directly procuring from farmers under its farm-to-fork model.