BANGALORE: Having exhausted all options to end opposition to the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, the Centre now plans to get a peek into the protesters’ minds and remove any fears.
For this, it has decided to engage a team of psychiatrists from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore.
In the first week of May, a representative from the Central Government visited NIMHANS to discuss strategies and to chalk out a plan of action.
The Central team wanted to evolve a method to engage with those involved in the Koodankulam agitation.
Following this, NIMHANS has already started working on the project and has formed a team comprising six members to take up the task of counselling protestors.
Some of these members are from the department of social psychiatry.
A former director of National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) is expected to lead this project.
The institute has already commenced the collection of primary data in this regard and is now gearing up to seek field reactions from villages in Tamil Nadu as the secondary research data for further formulation of multiple strategies to address the problem.
Dr P Satishchandra, director, NIMHANS, told Express that this will be a long-term project, which is currently in its infancy.
“We will submit a detailed report to the Central Government within a week and depending on the government’s response, further strategies will be planned for this project,” Dr Satishchandra added.
NIMHANS hopes to work in tandem with self help groups, NGOs, local administration and other community level workers who can help people understand the importance of the nuclear power plant.
The effort will be to allay apprehensions.
For instance, the fishing community is apprehensive about safety following the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
There was also a fear among villagers that once the reactor is set in motion, the condenser water released into the sea could affect marine life jeopardising fishermen’s livelihood.
Besides, there was also a fear that mock exercises mean permanent eviction of residents.
Considering these factors, the members have planned to chalk out various exercises at the grass-root level to convince protestors that the nuclear power plant is safe and essential for the country.