Institution of Engineers(India) Tirupati Local Center

A Tribute to General Sir Arthur Thomas Cotton

General Sir Arthur Thomas Cotton KCSI (15 May 1803 – 24 July 1899) was a British general and irrigation engineer. Cotton devoted his life to the construction of irrigation and navigation canals throughout the British Empire in India, however, his dream was only partially realized, but he is still honored in parts of Andhra Pradesh for his efforts. He entered the Madras Engineers in 1819, and fought in the First Burmese War. Cotton was knighted in 1861.

Arthur Cotton was born on 15 May 1803, the tenth son of Henry Calvely Cotton, and one of eleven brothers. In 1818, aged 15, he became a cadet at the East India Company .At the end of 1819 he was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Madras Engineer Group. Lieutenant Cotton started his career with the Ordnance Survey in Wales in January 1820 where he received a high praises for his admirable reports. In 1821 he was appointed for service in India, where he was initially attached to the Chief Engineer to Madras. He was later appointed as an Assistant Engineer to Superintending Engineer of Tank Department.

Cotton has conducted marine survey of Pamban passage between India and Ceylon. Cotton was promoted to the rank of "Captain" in 1828 and was in charge of Investigation for Cauveri Scheme. The Cauveri Anicut( dam) was successful and paved the way for great projects on Godavari and Krishna Rivers. In 1844 Cotton recommended the construction of "Anicut( dam )" and prepared plans for Visakhapatnam port. In 1847 the work on Godavari Anicut was started.

In 1848 he proceeded to Australia due to ill health and handed over the charge to Captain Orr. In 1850 returned to India and promoted as Colonel. He succeeded in completing the magnificent project on Godavari river at Dowleswaram in 1852. After completing the Godavari Anicut Cotton shifted his attention to the construction of Aqueduct on Krishna River. The project was sanctioned in 1851 and completed by 1855. After completing the Krishna and Godavari Anicuts, Cotton envisaged the storage of Krishna and Godavari river waters.

In 1858 Cotton came up with still more ambitious proposals connecting almost all major rivers of India and suggested drought relief measures in Odisha and interlinking of canals and rivers. Arthur Cotton was retired from the service in 1860 and was knighted in 1861 and left India. In 1862 and 1863 visited India and offered advice on some river valley projects. His work in India was so much appreciated and honored with K.C.S.I (Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India) in 1877. He is a much revered figure in the state of Andhra Pradesh for his contribution in irrigating the area of land also known as Konaseema.

In India due to his contributions the new barrage constructed across River Godavari Upstream side of the Anicut was also named after him and dedicated to the Nation by the Honorable Prime Minister of India in 1982.Cotton is revered in the Godavari District for making it the 'rice bowl' of Andhra Pradesh. Cotton is widely known as the 'Delta Architect' of the Godavari District because of his pioneering work in irrigation engineering through his construction of the anicut system. He Died 5 December 1907

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