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Last updated: 30 July, 2007 - Published 14:55 GMT
 
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Universities 'being privatised'
 
Police blocked the protest in Colombo (photo Elmo Fernando)
Rajarata university students' protest was blocked by the police near Higher Education Ministry premises in Colombo

University students in Sri Lanka have accused the government of secretly working on agenda to privatise state universities.

Duminda Nagamuva, convenor of Inter University Student Union (IUSU), accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government of gradually reducing budget allocation for state universities.

"The allocation was reduced by 20 per cent in January. Another 50 per cent was recently reduced announced," he told BBC Sandeshaya.

 The allocation was reduced by 20 per cent in January. Another 50 per cent was recently reduced announced
 
IUSU convenor

Commenting on a recent report by government auditors, Nagamuva said the government has lost Rs. 389,000 million as they have failed to collect the tax revenue.

Another Rs. 150,000 million was lost due to corruption by higher officials and politicians, he quoted figures from a recent parliamentary committee report.

"Universities are only granted Rs. 7000 million," the student leader told BBCSinhala.com.

Protest in Colombo (photo Elmo Fernando)
Rajarata students say they were not provided with even basic facilities

He was commenting after a protest rally by Rajarata university students was prevented from entering to the Higher Education ministry premises in Colombo by the police.

Rajarata university students accused the authorities of failing to provide basic needs of the students despite repeated protests.

President of the Rajarata University Students Union (RUSU), Dhanushka Kumarasinghe, said a Satyagraha has been launched in Mihintale 25 days ago.

"We do not have hostel facilities; no teachers," Kumarasinghe told BBCSinhala.com.

 We do not have pure water to drink. Many will end up with kidney failures if they do not supply us with clean water
 
Rajarata university student leader

The government have ignored the students' plight despite their 45 day-protest, he added.

Students who have travelled to the capital from ancient Anuradhapura district said they were not provided with basic facilities to continue with studies.

"We do not have pure water to drink. Many will end up with kidney failures if they do not supply us with clean water," Dhanushka Kumarasinghe said.

 
 
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