When you set up a new business, you must get clearances from relevant organizations after submitting required documents like MSME registration, MSME loan clearance form, Udyog Aadhar, etc., for smooth functioning.

Suppose your business generates any pollutants, also known as trade effluents, including chemical waste, smoke emissions, biohazard waste, detergents, and fly ashes, among others. In that case, you need to send an application to the respective State Pollution Control Board and get a NOC or a pollution license/ Certificate for the business.

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Types of Pollution License/ Certificate for Business:

CTE: Content to Establish

CTO: Content to Operate

  • Content to Establish– Content to Establish must be obtained before construction-related to any manufacturing business.
  • Content to Operate– Once the construction is complete, the business needs to apply for Consent to Operate to ensure that the industry maintains standards related to the operation. The validity period of the NOC/ Pollution License/ Certificate varies from State to State and needs to be updated regularly. 

What is a Pollution Index Score?

Pollution index is defined by the function of air pollutants, water pollutants, hazardous wastes generated, and the total consumption of resources, including amounts of raw material used, the process of manufacturing, and the number of potential contaminants. 

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The industries are differentiated between four colored categories according to the Pollution Index Score by the Ministry of Environment. 

  • Red category: The industries with the highest pollution index are categorized into the red category. Industries with a Pollution Index of 60 and more belong to the red category, such as large-scale manufacturing industries, international restaurants, and super-specialty hospitals.
  • Orange category: Medium-sized industries with low levels of pollutant emissions and a pollution index score of 41 to 59 are categorized into the orange category. Industries like cashew nut processing, coffee seed processing, pharmaceutical formulation, fish processing and packaging, ply-board manufacturing, automobile servicing and repairing, tobacco products manufacturing, spray painting fall into this category.
  • Green category: Industries with a pollution index score of 21 to 40 belong to the green variety. Small bakeries, storage of food grains, leather footwear, and products, cement products, ceramic color by mixing, glue from starch, flour mills, tires or tubes retreating, small hotels, sawmills, phenyl/toilet cleaners, are industries belonging to the green category.
  • White category: Industries in the white category is practically non-polluting, with the lowest pollution index score of 20. Biscuit trays rolled PVC sheet, cotton and woolen hosiery making, electric lamp, and CFL manufacturing, scientific and mathematical instrument manufacturing, handloom or carpet weaving, coir items from coconut husks, organic manure are all industries categorized into the white category.
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Which Industries require a Pollution Certificate/ License?

The industries eligible to apply for a pollution license/CTO are listed below:

  • Industries in the red category need mandatory pollution licenses and cannot function in ecologically fragile or protected areas.
  • Industries in the orange category.
  • Industries in the green category.
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Industries belonging to the white category do not require the CTO/CTE. 

Where to apply for the CTE/CTO?

The CTE is applied for in Form II in the case of any industry. This process has now moved online, and you can easily refer to any state’s pollution control Board website. You need to pay the consent fee (depending on the category of industries) along with the application and required documents. 

Some of the required documents for obtaining Consent to Establish (CTE)/ Consent to Operate (CTO) are listed below:

1. A copy of attested Sale Deed or Lease Deed or any other relevant documents as proof of possession of the site/factory is required along with the application. 

2. A copy of attested Memorandum of Articles in case of Public/Private sectors and a registered partnership deed in case of partnership companies.

3. A detailed layout showing the exact location of various process equipment and utilities like the boiler, generator, effluent treatment plant, outlet location, non-hazardous, and hazardous waste storage yard. 

4. A topo sketch showing the distance from important geographical units such as water bodies, roads, existing and proposed residential areas, agricultural lands, important religious locations, educational institutions, ancient monuments, archaeological places, and other sensitive areas for a 1km radius from the units. 

5. A detailed manufacturing process for every product and a clear process flowchart.

6. Details of water balance and wastewater balance required for the entire process of manufacturing. 

7. Details of material balance for every product/ process. 

8. Land use classification certificate obtained from the CMDA/ DTCP/LPA. 

9. The consent fee under Water and Air Acts is to be paid to the Board. 

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10. Groundwater clearance is required from the competent Authority (Wherever applicable). 

11. A Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) proposal with details of the design characteristics of sewage, treatment methodology, mode of disposal, design criteria of various units. Along with a detailed drawing of STP and its layout, a diagram showing the hydraulic profile and method of disposal of treated sewage and its adequacy (Wherever applicable). 

12. Air pollution control (APC) measures proposals with the details regarding the fuels used, emission sources, characteristics, concentration, and quality of pollutants. 

13. In the case of hazardous chemicals being used as raw materials, the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) should be enclosed for every item. Suppose the quantity of the hazardous chemicals handled is more than the threshold limit. In such cases, the unit shall furnish one or a combination of the following documents as required under the MSIHC Rules (Wherever applicable).

a. Risk assessment report

b. Onsite emergency preparedness plan

c. Off-site emergency preparedness plan

14. In the case of transporting hazardous chemicals, details of chemicals transported, method of transportation, and its safety measures are required.

15. Industries attracting EIA Notification must submit Environmental Clearance obtained from the MOEF/SEIAA and the Environmental Impact Assessment Report.

Wherever applicable, a CRZ clearance is obtained from the competent authority. 

What if you don’t obtain the Consent to Establish?

If the business fails to obtain the CTE, according to the provisions under section 25 or section 26, the person shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term that shall not be less than a year and six months but may extend to six years with a fine.


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