For the past couple of weeks several districts of Nepal’s Terai have been simmering due to the agitation of the Madhesi people. And our politicians are unable to address the issue. The ten commandments of leadership teach the powers-that-be to act as fast as possible. The main demands of the Madhesi community are straightforward and legitimate.

Firstly, for electoral purposes, the twenty districts of the Terai should be delinked from the hills. Taking into consideration their area, language and population, they can be consolidated into five units or cantons. For instance, Kanchanpur, Kailali, Bardiya, Banke and Dang districts can be consolidated into one unit with the population of 22, 25, 565. The unit would occupy 11, 922 sq km. Nepali, Tharu and Awadhi are the major languages spoken here. Likewise, Kapilvastu, Rupandehi, Nawalparasi and Chitwan can form the second unit with a population of 22, 25, 313 and the total area of 7,518 sq km. Besides Nepali, Awadhi, Tharu and Bhojpuri are the other languages spoken here. Similarly, the third unit can be formed by combining Parsa, Bara, Rautahat and Sarlahi districts into a single unit with a population of 22, 37,180. This unit would be spread over 4,967 sq km with Bhojpuri as the main language.

Similarly, the fourth unit could be formed by combining Mahottari, Dhanusha, Siraha and Saptari districts. This unit would have a population of 23,65,007 and an area of 4,801 sq km and Maithali as the main language. As the fifth unit, Sunsari, Morang and Jhapa districts, with a population of 21,01,893 could be formed. Its area would spread over 4,686 sq km.

Besides Nepali, Tharu and Rajbanshi are the major languages spoken in the area.

Secondly, the Madhesi agitation has put forward the demand of one seat in the Parliament for one lakh population. This demand is also very reasonable. A formula can be devised in a simple way. Consider Morang, for instance. It has a population of 8 lakhs plus 43,220. It will have 8 plus (i.e. 9 seats). Likewise, Manang, Dolpa or Mugu with less than one lakh population will get 0 plus 1 (i.e. 1 seat each). Calculating in this way, the total number of electoral seats will come to 271 in which 20 districts of the Terai will get 126 and the rest of the 55 districts will have 151 seats (i.e. 44.28 per cent and 55.72 per cent respectively).

Thirdly, the Madhesis are demanding a federal system of governance, which coincides with the demand of all the other sections of society, including various ethnic groups. Ultimately, Nepal has to evolve its own kind of governance with significant authority at the grassroots level (i.e. at the level of Village Development Committees and municipalities). Moreover, it has to define the centre and cantonal or prefectural relationship as developed in countries like Switzerland or elsewhere in Europe. Instead of dilly-dallying, the government should quickly agree in principle to the rightful demands of the Madhesi people and stop the prevailing anarchy in the Terai region.