The government of Tamil Nadu has banned screening of Dam 999, with immediate effect. The film was supposed to release on Nov. 25.
The film is based on a dispute between the governments of Tamil Nadu and the neighboring state of Kerala, over the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam and the impact of that damn collapsing.
The film's producers claim their production simply narrates the story of the havoc old and outdated dams cause. However, several people in Tamil Nadu are reportedly concerned that the film is actually a plot to deny the state its rightful share of water, by projecting the Mullaperiyar dam as a disaster waiting to happen. The dam, located in the Idukki district of Kerala, is administratively under the control of Tamil Nadu and meets the irrigation needs of farmers in southern districts bordering Kerala.
Five years ago, the Supreme Court of India directed the Kerala government to raise the dam's storage capacity to help Tamil Nadu. The former, however, defied the order from the judiciary, claiming the structure was weak and large-scale construction activity was not feasible.
Instead, Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala, demanded a new dam be built in its place, particularly since at least 22 tremors, over the last 8 months, in the Idukki district had weakened the building, making it a threat for people in the district.
P.J. Joseph, the Kerala Water Resources Minister, urged the centre to intervene, stressing on reports from experts at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Roorkee, who were commissioned to study probabilities of earthquakes in the region. The study suggested the strong possibility of the region being prone to earthquakes of cataclysmic magnitudes.
To allay fears, the Kerala government had assured its counterparts in Tamil Nadu that they would not loose even a drop of water, after construction on the desired and proposed new dam was completed.
Let Tamil Nadu take the entire water, Joseph was reported to have said.