Published on: June 27, 2024

The President pays homage to the historic Dalada Maligawa and receives blessings

  • The President visited the Chief Prelate of the Malwathu and Asgiriya Chapter.
  • The Greater Kandy Urban Development Plan presented to the Maha Nayaka Theras.
  • The education of the nation’s children will be safeguarded at all costs.
  • Maintaining the dignity of the teaching profession is the responsibility of every teacher.
  • A formal system to eliminate salary discrepancies during increments for government officials will be implemented by 2025 – The Presidents says during discussion with Chief Prelates.

The President’s special statement inspires hope for the country’s future.

For this endeavour, the President has the full blessings and support of the Maha Sangha – The Anunayake Thera of Asgiri Chapter, Venerable Murundeniye Dhammarathana Nayaka Thera.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the importance of teachers being present in schools during school hours for the education of the nation’s children. He warned that if this commitment is not upheld in the future and school children are deprived of their education as a result, necessary measures will be taken to designate the teaching profession as an essential service.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe mentioned this during his visit to the Asgiri Maha Viharaya. The President received blessings from the Most Venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Mahanayake Thero, the Maha Nayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter. President Wickremesinghe also participated in a cordial conversation with the Maha Nayaka Thera.

The President emphasized that teachers and principals should be role models for children and prioritize their future. He highlighted the need to consider the impact on children when teachers participate in protests and strikes, stressing the importance of their ability to provide guidance and advice to students.

The President clarified that this crisis does not affect the entire teaching profession. He noted that information received indicates only certain politically aligned teachers are involved, attributing the damage to the entire profession to the actions of this specific group.

Highlighting that this situation is confined to Sinhalese schools, the President commended Tamil, Muslim, and private schools for ensuring uninterrupted education for children.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe also mentioned that reports have indicated school guards are sending the children home, and he has directed the Inspector General of Police to enforce the law in response to these incidents.

This morning (27), President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the historic Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. During his visit, the President paid homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic and received blessings. Upon his arrival, he was warmly welcomed by the Chief Custodian, Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela.

The Maha Sangha recited Seth Pirith and blessed the President as he participated in religious ceremonies at the Dalada Maligawa. During his visit, the President inspected statues of a king and a queen crafted by artist Atula Herath using Artificial Intelligence technology at the Dalada Maligawa premises.

While at the historic Sri Dalada Maligawa premises, the President engaged in cordial conversation with the people present, inquiring about their well-being.

The President’s first stop in Kandy was at the Malwatu Maha Vihara, where he received blessings from the Chief Prelate of the Malwathu Chapter, Most Venerable Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayaka Thera. The President inquired about the Chief Prelate’s well-being and held a brief discussion.

This is President Wickremesinghe’s first visit to the Chief Prelates following his special statement yesterday. During this visit, he also presented the Mahanayakas with the Greater Kandy Urban Development Plan. In response to the Most Venerable Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayaka Thera’s request to address the demands of protesting groups, the President assured that a formal system will be established to increase the salaries of government officials, ensuring no salary disparities prevail, starting in 2025.

The President highlighted that the Cabinet has focused on increasing the salaries of government officials and announced that a committee has been appointed to address this matter. He further commented:

“Upon assuming office as President, my priority was to visit here first. Following your guidance, we have stabilized the country and averted bankruptcy. Today, my foremost objective is to update you on these developments. We have successfully concluded two agreements and will proceed with foreign debt restructuring until 2032.

Teachers will be provided with the necessary means to increase their salaries again next year, and we have already communicated this to them. Before proceeding with the salary increments for teachers, we must also consider adjusting the salaries of other government officials. In 2022, teachers experienced salary increases ranging from LKR 3,000 to 17,000. On average, this equates to about six to seven thousand rupees. Additionally, this year they received an additional LKR 10,000 increase, resulting in total raises ranging from LKR 13,000 to 27,000 for teachers. Hence, the salaries of other government officials need to be deliberated upon accordingly.

Currently, Tamil and Muslim schools are operational, whereas only Sinhala schools engage in such trade union actions. This matter has garnered the Cabinet’s attention, leading to plans to implement a unified approach to increase government officials’ salaries starting from 2025. A committee has been tasked with studying and recommending appropriate measures in this regard.

Furthermore, under the Kandy city development plan, the administrative city is slated for relocation to Kundasale. Discussions are underway regarding the establishment of an Indian IIT University in Kandy, along with plans for a new building complex at Peradeniya University. Concurrently, initiatives such as the Aswasuma and Urumaya programs have been undertaken to provide relief to the population.”

Following this, the President proceeded to the Asgiri Maha Vihara and received blessings from the Most Venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Mahanayaka Thera, the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter. President Wickremesinghe also engaged in a cordial conversation with the Chief Prelate.

President Wickremesinghe further added:

“The reconstruction of this nation cannot proceed solely through traditional political divisions. If we continue to operate along these lines, economic recovery within two years will remain unattainable. Various factions from all parliamentary parties have supported us in bringing the country to its current state, while segments of each party have also moved into opposition. Had the entire parliament collaborated with the government, our nation could have achieved far better outcomes.

I have extended an invitation to all parliamentarians to join the government’s economic revitalization program. Globally, political landscapes are evolving; major parties in nations like England, America, and France are fragmenting. Hence, the fragmentation of Sri Lanka’s main parties comes as no surprise.

We have successfully negotiated foreign debt restructuring agreements. Furthermore, the government has prioritized salary increases for teachers and other government officials.

Despite the presence of more than four government officials in villages, their economic impact remains limited. Despite the existence of institutions related to coconut production, Sri Lanka’s coconut yield has been declining. In contrast, Kerala has seen an increase in coconut production and is rapidly transitioning to an export-oriented economy. Despite the operation of Mahaweli zone offices and the Irrigation Department, the yield from the Mahaweli zone is only around three metric tons per hectare.

Over the past 50 years, countries like India and China have significantly benefited economically from the plantation industry. Historically, Sri Lanka had an economy based on tea, coconut, and rubber during colonial times. Following the introduction of an open economy in 1977, the garment industry became crucial in preventing further economic decline.

Efforts are underway to develop Gadaladenia, Lankatilakaya, and Ambakke into a tourism zone, with infrastructure development initiatives in progress. Plans include establishing a Buddhist cultural centre to attract a large number of tourists to the Kandy area. Tourists visiting the historic Dalada Maligawa, Udawatta Kale, and Victoria Dam will often spend several days in the Kandy area.

Under the Greater Kandy Urban Development Plan, efforts are underway to transform the Bogambara Prison area into a hotel complex. Additionally, plans include relocating the city’s administrative functions to Kundasale and establishing a technology zone in Digana to foster advanced technological development.

Discussions have been initiated to complete the Colombo-Mirigama section of the Kandy-Colombo Expressway with assistance from China, and the Kurunegala-Kandy section with assistance from Japan. We seek the support of the Mahanayaka Theras to ensure the success of our initiative to modernize agriculture in rural areas.”

The Anunayake Thera of Asgiri Chapter and the Chief Incumbent of the Muthiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya, Venerable Murundeniye Dhammarathana Nayaka Thera, stated:

“We reflect on the events of the past two years. Before assuming office as President, you sought blessings from the Maha Sangha. At that time, our country faced significant challenges. Amid attempts to besiege and breach Parliament, you made decisive decisions that have led the country to its current state of stability.

Sri Lanka cannot thrive in isolation; collaboration with the international community is essential. You have a good understanding of that. Your adept negotiation with the International Monetary Fund to stabilize the country’s economy underscores this understanding. Your recent statement inspires hope for our nation’s future, and we offer our blessings. This is a pivotal moment that demands leadership, not testing.

The protests, driven by political motives ahead of upcoming elections, disregard the economic and financial realities of the country. In this context, the involvement of teachers undermines the dignity of the teaching profession and sets a negative example for children.

In a village, several government officials are present, such as those involved in coconut cultivation, where about four officers are assigned per village. However, their impact on both the village and the local economy warrants reassessment.”

Subsequently, President Wickremesinghe visited the Selvam Vinayagar Hindu Kovil in Katukele, Kandy, where Hindu Priest S. Krishnamurthy conducted religious ceremonies and blessed the President. Following this, the President proceeded to the Meera Makam Mosque, where he received blessings and held a brief discussion with Maulavi Dasheem Mohammad.

The event was attended by Minister Manusha Nanayakkara, State Ministers Lohan Ratwatte and Dilum Amunugama, Members of Parliament Vajira Abeywardena and Mahindananda Aluthgamage, as well as Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, among others.

Mission

The Presidential Media Division is fully responsible for socializing the views, actions, decisions and statements of His Excellency the President through the media. Electronic, print and new media will contribute to this through a credible and engaging approach.

The media department works as a source of information on the subject of the President’s vision and mission by maintaining good coordination with public and private media organizations and journalists.

National policies, plans and measures are explained to the people through the use of high quality media. Identify the fallacies and reveal the truth.