New Democratic Front presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa yesterday pledged to revive his late father Ranasinghe Premadasa’s concept of providing free mid-day meals and two sets of uniforms to children in all schools.
Mr. Premadasda who made this pledge at an election rally in Balangoda said he would find funds to provide these to school children by cutting down unnecessary expenditure.
“My late father got the idea of providing school uniforms free of charge to school children when he saw children going in torn school uniforms in Ratnapura itself. I am also making a similar pledge today in Balangoda. I will provide two sets of uniforms to all school children and also a free mid-day meal just like my father did,” Mr. Premadasa said.
“Some may question where I am going to find funds for it but I will find the necessary funds by cutting down unnecessary expenditure. I will not go on foreign tours without any reason with large delegations of around 200 people,” he added.
He said the country does not need a monstrous leader (A Goni Billa) but a soft-hearted leader. “I will be a soft-hearted leader which the country wants,” he said.
He said he will be a leader which follows Pancha Maha Balawega (five pillars) monks, indigenous medical practitioners, teacher, farmers and labourers better than anyone else.
“Some say that I am going to bow down to the international community and will divide the nation. I am telling the people that I will stick to local values when dealing with the international community. I would like to also assure that I have my father, late President Ranasinghe Premadasa’s genes. Premadasa will never betray the nation,” he said.
Further, he pledged to stop the importation and re-export of pepper, to provide concessions to vegetable farmers and to relax laws which hinder the development of the gem industry.