Home » Farmers’ talks with Centre inconclusive, to meet again on Friday

Farmers’ talks with Centre inconclusive, to meet again on Friday

by Raju Vernekar
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Reliance Jio moves HC against damage to infrastructure; says not interesting in “contract” farming  
By Raju Vernekar
New Delhi/Mumbai, Jan 5:

A deadlock over farmers’ stir against farm laws continued after seventh round of talks  between the Centre and representatives of the protesting farmers on Monday with the Government refusing to repeal the acts and insisting on discussion only on problematic” clauses of the acts. Both the sides will meet again on 08 January. 
In the meeting held at Vigyan Bhawan, Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar suggested that the unions should discuss three laws clause wise and discuss the Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farm produce. However the unions insisted upon scrapping the laws and legal backing to Minimum Support Price (MSP). 
The protesting farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been at the border points of the national capital since 26 November, braving the bone-chilling cold weather in the region. Sporadic rains have also lashed the national capital in the last couple of days.  
In another development, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited on Monday moved the Punjab and Haryana High court, seeking action against those causing damage to its network infrastructure and forcible closure of its stores. The company has made the state of Punjab through its chief secretary, Union Home Affairs Ministry and Department of Telecommunications as respondents in the matter. 
In a civil writ petition filed through counsel Aashish Chopra, the company, which is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, sought appropriate directions to respondents for investigation into the “well-orchestrated and sustained disinformation campaign” being carried out by vested interests and miscreants against it. 
In its petition, the company stated that in the past few weeks, its over 1,500 telecom towers were damaged or rendered inoperative by miscreants crippling its mobile network in Punjab. A number of its centres and stores were also forcibly closed. Its subscribers were being forced to port to other networks while its employees were being subjected to grave threat to life and forcibly prevented from serving subscribers in the state. 
Allegedly, over 200 Reliance Jio towers were damaged and vandalised in Punjab in the past weeks on a daily basis as angry farmers protested against the farm laws and Reliance Jio. On 25 December, the number of mobile towers destroyed was 700, within three days this number rose to 1,504. There are a total of 9,000 towers in the state of Punjab. Besides some bundles of Jio’s fibre cable were also alleged burnt in Jalandhar. 
In its statement, Reliance has further added, “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.” Reliance has also said it supports the “aspiration of Indian farmers to get a fair and profitable price”. The company has also said that it “shall insist on our suppliers to strictly abide by the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism” as may be determined and implemented by the government.

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