Dokka Seethamma Aqueduct

Sir Arthur Cotton planned the aqueduct at P. Gannavaram to cater the needs of farmers in Konaseema area while he was constructing barrage at Dowleswaram..
P. Gannavaram aqueduct was first constructed in 1859. Later, a new aqueduct cum road bridge was constructed across the river Vynateya near Gannavaram , to facilitate crossing of Gannavaram Canal and also to irrigate an ayacut of 45,000 acres in Nagaram islandin the year 2000. Former Lok Sabha Speaker Balayogi was instrumental in construction of the new aqueduct. The then Minister for Major Irrigation Mandava Venkateswara Rao opened this on July 22, 2000 and named the aqueduct after Dokka Seethamma.

Former Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, then promised to make the old Gannavaram bridge along with Dokka Seethamma Aqueduct as a tourist spot. However, the promise remained only on paper for the last one decade.

On the other side of Vynateya river, there is another Gannavaram which is locally called Lankala Gannavaram and one can reach there only by country boat. Several films were shot in two Gannavarams. Yannabattula Venkateswara Rao, sarpanch of Lankala Gannavaram, said “the promise of making the aqueduct as a tourist spot has been in cold storage. We represented this along with Patha (old) Gannavaram sarpanch to our MLA Pamula Rajeswari Devi and MP G.V. Harsha Kumar several times but to no avail”.

Referring to Dokka Seethamma, P. Gannavaram Sarpanch Yedlapalli Veeravenkata Satyanarayana said Seethamma was popular as Annapoorna as she used to provide food to the poor and needy in the area when Sir Arthur Cotton was constructing the barrage and aqueduct. She had even provided traditional food to one of the British Collectors who was suffering from fever. Recognising her charity John Edward extended invitation to Seethamamma for his installation ceremony in London. Seethamma had rejected the invitation.

Smt. Dokka Sithamma lived in a remote village Lankala Gannavaram on the banks of holy river the Godavari in Andhra Pradesh, between 1841-1909, and set her name assynonymous with ANNADANAM, feeding the people in need with kindness¶ and hospitality. During the days when there was no media, even the culture of news paper reading was not, developed, her name in charity and hospitality crossed not only the states in India, but the boundaries of the continent. Her photograph was inaugurated in the main hall of the Royal Palace of London by the then Ruler, King Edward VII on 01.01.1903. The photograph installed in 1903 was witnessed by the then Hon. Speaker of our Lok Sabha, Sri GMC Balayogi in the year 2000 when he had visited the palace in London. In telugu written by some writers apart from the Bhupathi Narayana Murthy, are also written some books on her.
During the pre-independence days, an aqueduct was constructed on the River Godavari between Delta Gannavaram and Lankala Gannavaram. Since it became very old, in the year 2000 the State Government of Andhra Pradesh constructed a new aqueduct by theside of the old one. The then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Sri N. Chandra Babu Naidu had opened the same in the year 2000 and named it as Dokka Sithamma Aqueduct and her bronze statue was installed on the same, and affirmed the gratitude of the Andhra people towards Smt. Sithamma. Our eldest brother Sri Mirthipati Narayana had published a book on Smt Dokka Sithamma and the river Godavari explaining why the newly constructed Aqueduct should be named after Smt. Sithammaand met the then Hon. Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Sri N. Chandra Babu Naiduand the then Hon. Speaker of Loksabha Sri GMC Balayogi and the other relevant Leaders and dignities, and requested to name the aqueduct after Smt. Sithamma. The people in Konaseema will never forget the efforts of my brother Sri. M. Narayana for getting the aqueduct named after Smt. Sithamma. It is our blessed privilege, we were borne and brought up in Lankala Gannavaram, theholy place where Smt. Dokka Sithamma lived for nearly 60 years, and our house is just beside Her house.

In 1996, Doordarsan telecasted a serial on the life history of Smt. Sithamma. Famous TV (DD) serial Sri Maryadaramanna fame Sri Jayanthi Bhavani Sankaram played Sri Joganna role. The DD crew in all respects to complete their shooting works in our and the surrounding villages.

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Keywords : Dokka Seethamma Aqueduct, Aqueduct cries for attention, Heritage of India: Srimati Dokka Seethamma garu, Dokka Seethamma, Smt. Dokka Seethamma biography, P.Gannavaram, Old Bridge.

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