30 June 2021; Chandigarh, A large number of store and building owners who have rented their premises to Reliance Industries for operating its various businesses across Punjab, submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today. These owners have urged the CM to intervene and advise the authorities concerned to ensure law and order and allow them to safely open their stores, which are laid to seize in the name of farmer agitation all across the state for the last 8 months.
The owners said that they are in deep financial crisis and moving towards bankruptcy as they have not been getting any rental incomes for the last 7-8 months because all Reliance retail outlets have been forcibly closed by the agitating farmers and they have put their shamiyana tents and etc outside various stores. Reliance has around 275 stores in Punjab, all of which are shut.
“We are bearing losses in crores as the buildings are on loans from banks and we have to bear the burden of huge EMIs, municipal taxes, electricity and water charges etc. Moreover livelihood of lakhs of workers, employees and their families has also been adversely affected. Farmer leaders warn us of severe consequences if we open the stores. We have even approached District police and other local authorities but in vain. We have also met Samyukt Kisan Morchan (SKM) leaders and ‘Kisan Jathebandeyaan’ a couple of times and raised our concerns but to no avail. As per the agreements with the company, no rental payment can be made in case there is no billing or store is closed due to agitation etc”, said MrPrabhnoor Singh Waliafrom Kapurthala.
“We are all Punjabis and fully support the farmers, but such forced closure of Reliance’s stores is only harming Punjab as Reliance procures a lot of products locally, provides huge direct and indirect employment to Punjabis and pays huge taxes to the state. No corporate would be interested to invest in state if they are not allowed to operate peacefully”, saidDharampal Singh Nainfrom Jagraon.
“We have borrowed loans and invested all our hard earned money in the properties, but such forced closure is ruining us. Their stores are open in all other states. But in Punjab, Farmers are not allowing to open even those stores which are under essential services, so we are here to request the CM for help”, saidNirmal Singh from Jalandhar.
“We also appeal to the Farmers associations to carry on their protest peacefully against the Government but allow Reliance to open its stores. Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has already said in a regulatory filing that it has no plans of entering contract or corporate farming and it has not purchased any agricultural land in India for the purpose of contract farming”, saidMr Manav Sandhufrom Taran Taran.
Mr Sandeep Singh Brar, OSD to CM who interacted with the aggrieved building owners ensured all possible support to them and promised to take it up with the CM. He acknowledged that “maintaining of law and order is our duty and all your demands for help in operating the business peacefully are absolutely just”.