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Procedure for Obtaining

Consent to Establish and Consent to Operate

Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981

Monika Taparia
Monika Taparia

Published on: Jan 18, 2021

Updated on: Nov 28, 2022

(131 Ratings)


It is a big challenge for an entrepreneur to establish a new manufacturing business. Setting up a new Industry requires many approvals from Government Authorities. One of the major requirements is to obtain the Consent from the State Pollution Control Board.

The new units are under compulsion to obtain consent under the Water Act, 1974 and Air Act, 1981 even before starting subsequent production.

In case the unit is covered under Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016, E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016, Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 and Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016, it shall simultaneously apply for the grant of consent under Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.


Under the provisions of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, “any industry, operation or process or an extension and addition thereto, which is likely to discharge sewerage or trade effluent into the environment or likely to emit any air pollution into the atmosphere will have to obtain the Consent”

There are two types of the Consent i.e. Consent to Establish (CTE), and Consent to Operate (CTO).

  1. Consent to Establish: This consent is required to be obtained before establishing any Industry, Plant, or Process. The Consent to Establish is the primary clearance.
  2. Consent to Operate: Once the Industry, Plant, or Process being established according to mandatory pollution control systems, the units are required to obtain consent to operate.


All the industrial sectors/projects have been categorized under Red, Orange, Green and White categories based upon their pollution potential and range of pollution index for the purpose of consent management under Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

The process for obtaining consent to establish and to operate involves making an application to the respective State Pollution Control Board along with required documents and scrutiny fees using the online portal of the State pollution control Board (Online consent management).

It’s followed by physical scrutiny of the location and assessment of the environmental management system planned to meet with the mandatory requirement prescribed by the State Pollution Control Board.


While every state has its specific requirement, the following set of documents are usually required across every state for seeking consent under Water Act, 1974 and Air Act, 1981

Consent to Establish

  • Site Plan/Location Plan of the industry
  • Detailed Project Report which includes the details of raw material, product to be manufactured, the capital cost of the unit (land, building, and plant machinery), water-balance, source of water, and its required quantity
  • Land documents such as Registration deed/ Rent deed/Lease deed
  • Details of Water Pollution Control/Air Pollution Control instruments
  • MOA /partnership Deed

Consent to Operate

  • Copy of last consent issued
  • Layout plan showing the details of all manufacturing processes
  • Latest analysis report of solid waste, effluent, hazardous wastes, and fuel gases
  • Copy of balance sheet duly attested by CA or CA certificate
  • Detail of land in case the effluent is discharged on land for percolation
  • Occupation certificate issued by Town & Country Planning Department, in case of Building & construction projects/area development projects.
  • MOA /partnership Deed


Generally, Consent to Establish is a one-time activity. The State Pollution Control Board issues it for 3 to 5 years. In case the project proponent required an extension of the period, the entrepreneur can apply for an extension basis the requirement.

Consent to operate remains valid for a period of 5, 10, and 15 years according to the red, orange, and green category of the industry respectively.

The industry/project proponent intending for renewal of the Consent to Operate shall apply through OCMMS (Online Consent Management & Monitoring System) before the expiry of the period of previous Consent to Operate permitted by the State Pollution Control Board.

In some states, there is the provision of Auto Renewal in the cases where there isn’t any change in their raw material, process, product, increase in overall capital investment cost, and machinery. Production capacity and pollution load of the unit remains the same as declared in the original application for Consent to Operate.


The industrial units/projects covered under the white Category are exempted from Consent Management for obtaining CTE and CTO under Water Act, 1974 and Air Act, 1981 and any other units not covered under Red, Orange and Green category.


If any Industry / Plant / project operates without obtaining Consent, the entrepreneur shall be liable for imprisonment for a term which may extend to three (3) months or with a fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees (INR 10,000) or with both.


The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The content of this article is not intended to create and receipt of it does not constitute any relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel.

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