Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) said on January 4 it has no plans to enter contract or corporate farming and it is committed to empowering farmers. It never bought agricultural land for corporate or contract farming and had no plans to do so either, the conglomerate said in a statement.

RIL said that its subsidiary Reliance Retail 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 said 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.”

In recent weeks, there have been reports of around 1,500 mobile towers and telecom gear owned by RIL’s Jio being vandalised in Punjab, allegedly by farmers protesting against the new farm laws that seek to liberalise the market for agricultural produce and commodities.

The company said it has filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against vandalism of its communication towers. It urged the High Court to issue a suitable order to help protect its employees and property from vandalism. Some vested interests and business rivals were behind the vandalism, the company said.

In November, some groups of farmers had shut down Reliance Fresh stores in parts of Punjab. Some farmers fear that the new laws will pave the way for corporate exploitation and their land could be “snatched” by big firms.

Follow LIVE updates of the farmers’ protest here

Thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, have been staging a sit-in along Delhi’s borders since November 26. The farmers are demanding a complete rollback of the three farm laws and a guarantee that the MSP system will not be done away with.

Multiple rounds of talks between the Centre and the farmers’ union leaders have ended in a stalemate. Protesting farmers fear that the new agricultural reform laws will dismantle the MSP system and corporatise farming. However, the Centre has maintained that these reforms will benefit farmers.

The Centre and farmers’ unions are scheduled to hold another round of talks on January 4. In the previous round, the Centre and farmer unions agreed on issues related to the electricity act and stubble burning but there was no agreement on the two key demands—legal guarantee for MSP and withdrawal of the three farm laws.

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