The Punjab Pollution Control Board on Thursday said that they had received a complaint regarding the use of hydrochloric acid for pickling process by some industries, as opposed to the mandated use of sulphuric acid, and had taken action against both the units.
Anurag Verma, Principal Secretary, Department of Science, Technology and Environment, on Thursday said that two units were found to be in violation of norms — namely M/s Ravindra Alloys Industries, Street No. 3, Jaspal Bangar Road, Industrial Area-C, Ludhiana, and M/s Sond Impex, E-92, Phase-IV, Focal Point, Ludhiana. Both the units have been ordered shut, pending an investigation.
Verma added that environmental compensation worth a total of Rs 12 lakh has been imposed on eight other violating units — namely M/s Ganpati Fasteners Pvt. Ltd., Ashoka Industrial Fasteners, M/s Bansal Industries, M/s Ashoka Industrial Fasteners, Vishnu Wires, Ashish International, Abhey Steels Pvt. Ltd — all located in the focal point.
Verma said that during an inspection, a number of irregularities were found in the above units. Samples of acids being used by these industries were also taken and it was found that these industries are using hydrochloric acid in the acid pickling process although they have taken consent from the board for use of sulphuric acid only. Moreover, these units are lifting spent hydrochloric acid to a reprocessing unit located at Kohara operating under the name of JBR Technologies Pvt Ltd, which has infrastructure for treatment of spent sulphuric acid only.
Thus, these industries are maintaining inappropriate disposal mechanisms under the consent conditions due to changes in the type of acid used without the permission of the board. The final disposal of spent acid is doubtful and there is a likely chance that it is being discharged into a sewer, as the facility lifting the spent acid did not have the infrastructure or mandate to dispose of such effluents.
He further informed that a medium-scale unit running under the name of M/s Vallabh Steels Ltd., Village-Nandpur, G.T. Road, Ludhiana was operating without obtaining valid consent of the Board. Further, the unit has decreased the quantity of agreement for the lifting of spent acid from 1,20,000 litres per month to 29,000 litres per month without submission of any reason.
He further informed that in case of minor violations, Board officers have been asked to re-visit the units.