Reliance, controlled by one of Asia’s richest men, Mukesh Ambani, will file a petition on the matter in the Punjab and Haryana High Court later on Monday, it said in a statement to stock exchanges.
In India’s biggest farm unrest in years, tens of thousands of growers largely from the states of Punjab and Haryana in India’s north have been protesting near New Delhi against the laws, for the past 6 weeks which seek to allow farmers to sell to institutional buyers and big retailers such as Reliance Retail, Walmart and Cargill.
The farmers, who form a powerful political constituency, fear the laws passed in September could see the government stop buying grains at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers that may not pay guaranteed prices for food grains.
Reliance, which also operates India’s largest retailer, said it would insist that its suppliers abide by these minimum support prices or any similar mechanism that may be implemented by the government.
The company also said it had not done any corporate or contract farming in the past and has no plans to enter the business.
But the company allege Protesters have attacked hundreds of telecommunications masts of companies such as Reliance’s Jio in recent weeks, resulting in damage or their power supply being cut off. Jio is India’s top telecom provider by subscribers.
Reliance said “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.”
More than 1,400 of Reliance’s 9,000-plus telecom masts had been hit, with power supply and fibre cut by unidentified people, Reuters reported last week.
Splco furnish herewith the full text of RIL said in a media statement.
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.
The falsehood of the campaign becomes crystal clear from the following irrefutable facts, which we have placed before the Honourable High Court. These facts establish that Reliance has nothing whatsoever to do with the three farm laws currently debated in the country, and in no way benefits from them. As such, the sole nefarious purpose of linking the name of Reliance to these laws is to harm our businesses and damage our reputation.
“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,”
Neither Reliance nor any of our subsidiaries has purchased any agricultural land, directly or indirectly, in Punjab/Haryana or anywhere else in India, for the purpose of “corporate” or “contract” farming. We have absolutely no plans to do so,
Reliance Retail is an unmatched leader in organised retail business in India.
It retails products of all categories including food grains and staples, fruits and vegetables, items of daily use, apparels, medicines, electronic products of various brands belonging to independent manufacturers and suppliers in the country. It does not purchase any food grains directly from farmers, according to RIL.
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.
“We at Reliance have immense gratitude and the greatest respect for India’s kisans, who are the ‘ANNA DATA’ of 1.3 billion Indians.
Reliance and its affiliates are committed to doing everything to enrich and empower them. As customers of their services, we believe in building a strong and equal partnership with Indian farmers on the basis of shared prosperity, inclusive development and an equitable New India,” said RIL.
Therefore, 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 a remunerative price for farm produce, as may be determined and implemented by the government, RIL added.
Far from hurting the interests of Indian farmers, the businesses of Reliance have actually benefited them and the Indian public at large.