Special Correspondent

KOCHI: Shops and businesses at Ilanji, 40 km from here, observed a half-day hartal on Tuesday to protest against the arrest of local people agitating against the setting up of a rock-sand unit at Koorumala. The Koothattukulam police had, on Monday, taken about 20 persons into custody for putting up a road blockade against the private company that is setting up a rock-crushing unit at Koorumala, a tall, rocky hill in Ilanji panchayat limits.

The arrested included Jomy C. Nidhiry and Joshy Kulathinkal, leaders of the Action Council for the Conservation of Koorumala. They have been let out on bail.

On Sunday also, people had put up road blockade.

They alleged that the company had blasted rocks at night, violating rules on use of explosives. They had accused it of having extracted groundwater in violation of an agreement.