The dark life of the Kelo

Shiv Rajpoot during his Kelo Yatra, 2008
Shiv Rajpoot during his Kelo Yatra, 2008

"The Kelo river has never been like this but in the last two decades, the economic growth in the region has spoiled the purity of the river", says eminent journalist  Shiv Rajpoot from Raigarh, who is also known as "Kelo man". He has twice traveled by foot, the 90 km stretch of the Kelo from its origin to its end.

The objectives of his two visits were to study and document:

  • the biodiversity in and around the Kelo basin,
  • the qualitative community perceptions around the river basin, and
  • the changes in the river bed over the last two decades.

In the film “The Kelo”, Rajpoot tells how the Kelo went from being one of Chhattisgarh's purest and healthiest rivers to one of its unhealtiest. The city of Raigarh, which was once entirely dependent upon the Kelo's water for drinking, is now moving towards groundwater.

He has inspired people to conserve and protect the river from further pollution. His dedicated efforts have driven people in Raigarh to start a campaign on cleaning the river bed.

"There is an urgent need to develop a better river policy for the state. Without the people's participation, it is not possible to rejuvenate any of the rivers in India", says Rajpoot.