(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –New Democratic Front (NDF) Presidential candidate Minister Sajith Premadasa said he will initiate a historic people’s welfare programme by converting the string of Presidential mansions in the country into Youth Technological Institutes once elected to power on November 16.
He made this assurance addressing several NDF Presidential Election rallies in Kalawana and Bandaragama on November 3.
At the Kalawana rally, a group of 100 Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna members came on stage and, on the initiative of Kalawana UNP organiser Sarathchandra Ramanayake, joined Sajith Premadasa’s election campaign.
Describing himself as the only Presidential candidate visiting all electorates in the country to meet the people, Premadasa said he would build the Ratnapura Expressway without causing any damage to the environment while looking in to the needs of the people in Kalawana.
Pointing out that the proposed bridge linking Gewadala and Ayagama had not been built since 1992 he said he would take steps to build the bridge within a week after assuming office. The Nidangoda-Kalawana road which was subjected to floods would be developed as a two lane road. He also promised to grant relief to people affected by the Kukulegama electricity scheme.
Premadasa said he would provide free fertilizer to farmers to produce all food items needed by the people.This would farmers to reduce their production costs.
He would also ensure a guaranteed price for tea, rubber and pepper and ban the re-export of pepper.
Premadasa said once elected to office he would also introduce a programme to improve tea factories and uplift the tea small holders. Those people involved in the gem mining industry would be given all impetus to develop their industry without causing environmental damage. Those engaged in the mining industry would be given the option to appoint one of them as the Chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Authority and simplify the process of obtaining gemming permits without hassle.
Premadasa would also perform the responsibility of providing houses for all by 2025. He would transform the entire Sabaragamuwe Province into a Tourism Zone by transforming the Sinharaja Forest which is a World Heritage Site into a tourist attraction. This would help bring prosperity to the people in Kalawana.
“Poverty in this country would be totally eradicated by strengthening the Samurdhi programme and reintroducing the Janasaviya programme too in line with it. The provision of school uniforms and mid day meals to students started by his late father would be further enhanced by providing two sets of uniforms,a mid day meal and a pair of shoes free of charge to all school children,” he added.
“Since the pre-school education stage was the period in which a child’s mental faculties are formed, he would provide free pre-school education to all children while paying the salaries of pre-school teachers under state patronage. Since the youth generation were the inheritors of the country’s future, technological laboratories would be set up at Divisional Secretariat level for their benefit.
Information Technology parks would also be set up at Divisional Secretariat level to create a digital revolution with initial state funding,” Premadsa said.
“Industrial Zones would also be set up at Divisional Secretariat level to provide employment to youth in their own areas. Steps would be taken to induce direct foreign investments and strengthen the Co-operative Movement,” he added.
Premadasa said the Batta payment of Rs.20,000 promised to Police officers by the government which had to be curtailed owing to the protest made by rival candidates would be restored to all Police officers within 72 hours of his assumption of office after November 16, in addition to the meal allowance. This would be given as a common payment to all officers irrespective of their ranks.
A normal practice in the country had been to import new vehicles soon after a change of government incurring heavy expenditure on the Exchequer.
Premadsa requested everyone concerned to exercise frugality. This practice of importing new vehicles would be banned under his stewardship.
“No new bullet proof vehicles would be imported either for the President or the Prime Minister either,” he said.
Sajith Premadasa said one of his primary duties as President would be to implement his Bandaragama New Town Development Plan.
He said critics might accuse him of giving unending promises to the people. But he would like to say that he would never make promises without any foundation. If people elected him to power he would strengthen the people by eliminating corruption and robbery or national assets.
All promises given by him had a scientific foundation.