The rooms of A.P. State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) Zonal Training College at Gannavaram will echo with ‘kiai’, the short yell that is generated while applying karate techniques, from Tuesday.

The first batch of a 60-member women employees’ team from the RTC, Vijayawada Zone, will descend on the venue to learn the rudiments of the martial art Karate.

In the wake of the recent Delhi gang-rape incident, concern over women safety has increased manifold in all sectors.

The APSRTC, on its part, has decided to train its women employees, especially the women conductors, in self-defending mechanisms like karate.

“There are nearly 1,400 women employees in the Vijayawada Zone. Since all of them cannot be trained at one go, we have decided to categorise them in different batches,” RTC Vijayawada Zone Executive Director M.S. Prakasa Rao told The Hindu on Monday.

To begin with, the officials have picked up a few active employees who could learn the basics such as how to pack an impressive punch, swing and strike before descending on the opponent with a flying kick.

“We do not have a woman trainer and so we have engaged a male trainer who will impart a week-long coaching in the basics. It’s a new concept and we are weary of the possible hesitation the trainees might feel initially. But once they understand the ultimate purpose of it and what significance it holds for them, they are sure to give their best shot,” said Mr. Rao.

As a pre-cursor, the authorities recently conducted a shuttle tournament followed by athletics exclusively for women employees. “This might perhaps help them to open up to the idea of karate as well,” he said.

Mr. Rao feels it is imperative for women conductors to be equipped with such self-defending techniques.

“Frequently it happens that only male passengers travel by late night buses, especially in rural pockets. Buses sometimes traverse through wilderness or may even break down at deserted areas.

The woman conductor in the bus should be confident enough to face such situations,” said Mr. Rao.

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