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January 30, 2018

NOC from CGWA mandatory for FBOs seeking FSSAI licence for groundwater extraction


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Considering the fact that India's groundwater future is at stake, which is a cause of worry for the country, and with an aim to overcome the alarming issue of groundwater depletion, on January 29, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a notification stating that Food Business Operators (FBOs) who seek FSSAI licence for operations will now have to obtain mandatory No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA). Notably, groundwater is considered as the world’s largest freshwater store.

CGWA is a National Apex Agency entrusted with the responsibilities of providing scientific inputs for management, exploration, monitoring, assessment, augmentation, and regulation of groundwater resources of the country.

FSSAI said that it will not consider any request for licences to new industries extracting groundwater located in 1,034 overexploited areas without NOC from CGWA. FSSAI then said that in case of existing industries seeking renewals or product modifications in these areas, it shall consider applications seeking renewals or product modifications within the existing capacity only.

FSSAI then said that in case of applicant industries extracting groundwater located in 882 overexploited areas, other than 162 notified thus far seeking FSSAI licences for renewals or product modifications, it may consider the applications subject to the acceptance of their application for NOC from CGWA and meeting other eligibility criteria.

FSSAI, on the other hand, added that in case of applicant industries extracting groundwater located in safe, semi-critical, or critical areas, it will consider applications seeking issue of new licences, renewals of existing licences, and product modifications without insisting on NOC from CGWA.

FSSAI concluded that in the states where there were legislations for groundwater extraction, the NOC of the state governments shall be deemed final in the case.

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