Staff Reporter

KOTTAYAM: The hartal called by the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithy (KVVES) was near-total in the town with the members of the organisation downing their shutters in protest against the demolition of shops on General Post Office Road in the town.

Most of the shops except hotels and medical stores remained closed during the day. The traders took out a protest rally and sat in a dharna in front of the municipal office. The rally, which began from the KVVES headquarters, was addressed by district president T.D. Joseph, district secretary M.K. Khader and State general secretary Alex M. Chacko. Meanwhile, the business during the meeting of the Municipal Council held on Monday centred round Sunday’s demolition drive and witnessed noisy scenes.

The UDF leaders alleged that the operation was launched to help certain elements. They wanted the authorities to call a special session to discuss the issue.

M. P. Santhosh Kumar, Francis Jacob and others spoke on behalf of the UDF.

Meanwhile, the ruling LDF members alleged that the drive was taken up with an open mind. The only objective was the development of General Post Office Road, they said.