The places associated with Sir Arthur Cotton (1803-1899) are in great neglect in and around Dowleswaram, where he lived in a thatched house for more than a year until he shifted to a house that is situated on a hill at Bommuru in Rajamahendravaram rural Mandal. In 2022, the house with a horse stable was proposed to be renovated.
“Earlier, we had a proposal to renovate Sir Arthur Cotton’s house with an estimated ₹3 crore. The project had to be withdrawn as the merger of Bommuru village into the Municipal Corporation is still pending in court. We will have an action plan once the Bommuru village officially comes under our jurisdiction”K. Dinesh KumarRajamahendravaram Municipal Corporation Commissioner
“Earlier, we had a proposal to renovate Sir Arthur Cotton’s house with an estimated ₹3 crore. The project had to be withdrawn as the merger of Bommuru village into the Municipal Corporation is still pending in court. We will have an action plan once the Bommuru village officially comes under our jurisdiction”, Rajamahendravaram Municipal Corporation Commissioner K. Dinesh Kumar tells The Hindu.
On the other hand, the Andhra Pradesh State Archaeology and Museum Department has also claimed to have a proposal to renovate the house. Archaeology and Museums Assistant Director (Kakinada) K. Timmaraju has said, “We did not receive funds from the Central government for the renovation of Sir Arthur Cotton’s house at Bommuru. Recently, we have received funds from the Centre but not meant for the house project”.
Tomb of Cotton’s daughter
In 1847, Sir Arthur Cotton’s couple had been blessed with a second daughter while they were living in Dowleswaram. It was around this period in which the construction of the anicut was in its initial stage. “Cotton’s second daughter, who was less than a year old, passed away. She was buried on the banks of River Godavari in Rajahmundry, and a tomb was erected by her parents in her memory,” claims Delta Silpi, a book authored by Gummuluru Satyanarayana and published by the State government.
According to Rajamahendravaram-based senior journalists, the tomb of Sir Arthur Cotton’s daughter is situated adjacent to Chitrangi, a railway guest house, at the Pushkar Ghat. At present, the tomb is inaccessible as the area is covered with bushes. The irony is that the tomb did not get any attention under the ongoing ₹100 crore Rajamahendravaram beautification drive.
At Dowleswaram, the British building, which was later developed into the Cotton Museum and inaugurated by former Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao needs maintenance and repair in some portions. The museum is the only guide to understanding the Godavari Delta, and the machinery used in the construction of the anicut is on display now.
Scores of buildings are in a dilapidated state on the campus of the Dowleswaram Irrigation Complex, which is home to all the administrative buildings of the Godavari Delta System. Many buildings are eligible to be declared as ‘monuments’ as they meet the criteria of ‘100-year-old’. Some of the buildings are known for their architectural marvel as they were built with wood. Any minor renovation drive would help unearth the glory of these buildings to be added to the irrigation history of the Godavari region.