The findings are part of a CAG report that contains the observations from the performance audit of groundwater management and regulation from 2013 to 2018.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found that 2,475 of 3,189 packaged drinking water units granted licenses by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) were operating without no-objection certificates (NOCs) from the Central Ground Water Board.
According to The Indian Express, the findings are part of a CAG report that contains the observations from the performance audit of groundwater management and regulation from 2013 to 2018.
“Audit observed that in 15 states for which data was made available to audit, BIS licenses were issued to 3,189 packaged drinking water units since 2013. Of these, only 642 proponents obtained NOC from CGWA/State authorities for groundwater extraction,” stated the report, reported The Indian Express. “Thus, in 2,475 of 3,189 cases i.e. in 78% of the licenses granted by BIS, the project proponents were operating without obtaining NOCs from CGWA.”
According to the report, the department accepted that there was a gap in the number of NOCs obtained by Packaged Drinking Water units and the licenses granted by the bureau.
The Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation also stated in September 2020 that CGWA had held meetings with The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), where it was agreed that FSSAI would not issue licenses to industries that do not have NOC for groundwater extraction.
The CAG found that out of 328 cases across 18 states, only 75 projects were functioning with requisite NOCs from the state pollution control boards or committees.
The report also revealed that there is a lack of facilities to monitor the groundwater level in the country.
“Against the proposed number of 50,000 observation wells (by the end of the XII Plan period i.e. 2012-17) to measure ground water level, a network of only 15,851 observation wells were being monitored as of 31 March 2019,” the report said, according to The Indian Express.