Kochi, being the business capital of Kerala accounts to a substantial population of working women . Travelling in the crowded city buses is a painful ordeal in itself for the thousands of women travelers especially those working in night shifts. Many a time the women passengers are harassed and bullied by men not only during night trips but also in broad day light. Not many people come forward in their defense and even if someone choose to, they wont find many supporters for their cause!
The gory incident where a lone woman passenger was raped after being pushed out from a moving train in Palakkad is the latest in the morbid state of affairs in Kerala as far as the safety of women passengers is concerned. To add more teeth to the self defense of women, a group of innovative techies employed in Technopark has made arrangements to distribute pepper spray among its women work force. While the ordinary women suffer in silence, it is heartening to note that some women gather courage to respond and react. There also has been a steep rise in women joining for self defense classes like Karate in institutions like the Andhra Cultural centre and Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium among many others!
Now, in a bid to ease their travel woes, KSRTC has now introduced ladies only buses, which have proved a huge hit. At present there are two buses exclusively for women, which operate on Kakkanad-Aroor route and Kaloor-Chottanikkara route respectively. Now the women passengers can travel without any worries and the best part is that they can bring their children too along with them. At present these buses conduct services during office hours in the morning and evening.
The women in Kochi seem to make the best use of the facility, considering the tremendous response it got. Finally a city ride sans the shameless glances and lewd comments of the men folk is on the cards for the women in Kochi!