Soldiers sitting in their bunkers in snow-clad Siachen will get to feel sea waves, chirping of birds and winds passing through forests, as part of a DRDO project to break the monotonous environment and sense of isolation faced by them in the world’s highest battlefield. As part of its efforts to provide troops with “enriched environment” at isolated locations, DRDO has started working on ‘Project Dhruv’ to develop new bunkers to tackle various forms of psychological issues and depression among them.
“Project Dhruv is aimed at environment enrichment within the shelter. This is one of the components for removing his stress in such isolated and forward areas,” DRDO Chief Controller, Life Sciences W Selvamurthy told a news agency here. Such measures will help jawans cope with the stress induced by their monotonous surroundings and help in creating a lively atmosphere within the bunkers, he said. The study will be completed in one year and will provide concrete results to move forward, Selvamurthy added. DRDO has taken a slew of measures to tackle depression among soldiers, which in recent past had led to various incidents of suicides and fratricides in the armed forces.
The premier defence research agency is planning to use state-of-art technology for the purpose and will equip the bunkers with some of the most modern amenities to ensure a better living for the jawans. “We are bringing in a lot of technology to bring down the stress among jawans. Environment enrichment in the bunkers is one such effort. How do we create an ambiance which will make it more pleasant and in turn will relieve the stress. Like perching of birds, sounds of the waves of a sea, we are doing an experiment on these to simulate them in a bunker,” Selvamurthy said. Delhi-based Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) has been tasked to develop the necessary technology and conduct researches in a time-bound manner.
“Particularly for the forward posts where people are in isolation, we can create an enriched environment through technology. DIPR is currently doing the experiments. It is being done initially at forward posts in base camps,” he said. The shelters, besides having various modes of simulated environment, will be equipped with green energy in form of solar and wind power units. The shelters will have its own bio-digester facility to dispose of human waste and will have equipments to take care of altitude sickness and breath problems faced by troops at high mountains. While the initial focus of Project Dhruv is on Army troops, it will be further extended to cater to the needs of naval personnel who go into the seas for long duration and face various forms of sea-sickness and related psychological issues.
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