Mukesh Ambani: No plans to enter corporate farming
Mukesh Ambani: On Monday, amid the ongoing farmers protests, Reliance Industries (RIL) owner Mukesh Ambani issued a statement emphasising that his company never bought any agricultural land and had no plans of entering into contract or corporate farming. His statement came in order to stop the vandalising of Jio towers and property as over the last few weeks, there emerged reports of about 1,500 mobile towers and telecom gear owned by RIL’s Jio being destroyed in Punjab.
The company suspected that the deed was done as part of the government- farmers row over the new farm laws which were introduced last September to liberalise the market for agricultural produce and commodities. The conglomerate, which included Reliance Retail, said that its does not purchase food grains directly from farmers. “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,” Reliance said in the statement.
The company added it had “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.”
Reliance Jio Infocomm, one of the subsidiaries of RIL, approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court on a Monday, filing a writ for the protection of its property and employees. The company also urged the government to intervene in the matter on urgent basis to “bring a complete stop to the illegal acts of vandalism by miscreants”. RIL said that it has been targeted in the ongoing farmer protests, and demanded the authorities to take action against the ‘miscreants’ who destroyed its property (mainly in Punjab and Harayan) so far. The company “sought punitive and deterrent action against miscreants and vested interests”.
The statement 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 in the two states.” The company added that those “indulging in vandalism have been instigated and aided by vested interests and our business rivals.”
The government and farmers talk scheduled for January 4, ended much like the previous ones in an inconclusive manner. The 7th round of negotiation failed to resolve the deadlock between the two sides as farmers unions have been demanding complete rollback of the laws and legal assurance over the retention of MSP. Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, who attended the meeting, said, “Our demand is the repeal of the laws. We will not agree to any alternatives such as the setting of the committee.”