Chandigarh [India], June 30 (ANI): 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 on Wednesday urging him to intervene and allow them to safely open their stores, which are closed due to farmers' agitation 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 tents and outside various stores. Reliance has around 275 stores in Punjab, all of which are shut.
"We are bearing huge losses as the buildings are on loans from banks and we have to bear the burden of huge EMIs, municipal taxes, electricity, and water charges. Moreover, the 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," said Prabhnoor Singh Walia from Kapurthala.
Walia said as per the agreements with the company, no rental payment can be made in case there is no billing or the store is closed due to agitation.
Dharampal Singh Nain from Jagraon said, "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 a state if they are not allowed to operate peacefully."
Another store owner Nirmal Singh from Jalandhar said such forced closure is ruining them.
"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", he said.
Sandeep Singh Brar, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to CM who interacted with the aggrieved building owners ensured all possible support to them and promised to take it up with the Chief Minister.
He acknowledged that "maintaining of law and order is our duty and all demands for help in operating the business peacefully are absolutely just". (ANI)