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RIL moves court against vandalism, denies contract farming plans

NEW DELHI: Shares of Reliance Industries were trading lower on Monday as the company pleaded the Punjab and Haryana High Court to seek interventions against ‘miscreants’ who are allegedly damaging properties of the company’s subsidiary Jio.

“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,” RIL said in a statement.

The company also denied having any plan to enter into contract farming and asserted that it has not done so in the past as well. Reliance also refuted claims that said the company has bought any agricultural land, directly or indirectly, anywhere in India, for the purpose of corporate or contract farming.

“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,” said RIL.

Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi for over a month now. The farmers fear the new farm laws that make contract farming easy will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce. They also suspect it will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.

The media statement by Reliance comes at the time when there are reports of Jio mobile numbers being ported to its rivals. Besides, many shopkeepers have also stopped selling recharges and sim cards of Jio in Punjab and Haryana.

Jio is facing ire from protesting farmers as they allege that some portions of the law are believed to be favouring large business groups, particularly Reliance Industries and Adani Group. The farmers have been making calls to boycott Jio services and Adani Group as a result of this perception.

Shares of RIL traded down 0.56 per cent at Rs 1,976.05.

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