Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), April 6 : The residents of 23 Vantangia villages — five in Gorakhpur and 18 in Maharajganj district — would vote for the first time in the ongoing Panchayat elections.
These 23 Vantangia villages were declared revenue villages by the Yogi Adityanath government on January 1, 2018.
The Vantangia tribal community has a special place in the heart of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is popularly known as ‘Toffee Wale Baba’ in the region. The Chief Minister has been celebrating Diwali with Vantangia children since the past several years.
The Vantangia people came into limelight last year on December 25, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had virtual interaction with Ram Gulab, director of an FPO ‘Maharajganj Vegetable Producing Company’ for setting an example of contract farming.
The farmers of the Vantangia villages in Maharajganj had signed an MoU with an Ahmedabad-based company for the purchase of golden sweet potato.
Sandeep Rai, a research scholar of the DDU Gorakhpur University, said, “Around 99 years, the British government started using people for cleaning forests, these people were called Tangia farmers. Tangia farmers were allowed to do farming on nine-foot land between the rows of forest trees. They were not allowed to grow crops of their choice as it was decided by forest authorities so that the crop does not harm the trees around and does not degrade the fertility of soil.
“The farmers didn’t have any ownership right on the land and they had right only on the crop. Vantangias were totally dependent on forest for their livelihood. Due to negligence of previous governments, the Vantangias remained deprived of the basic amenities even 70 years after Independence.”