Hindustan Times reported that the Punjab Pollution Control Board said that 15 firms, engaged in wire drawing process, are in the dock regarding the use of HCL for the pickling process and further lifting of the spent acid to re-processors, which have no methodology to treat the spent effluent generated from the use of HCL. The role of the common effluent treatment plant, which is operated by a private company, JBR Technologies, is also questionable as per the PPCB report for lifting effluent from hydrochloric acid consuming units without having the requisite methodology to treat the same. Punjab Government’s Principal Secretary Science, Technology & Environment, Mr Anurag Verma said “After complaints, scientific and technical teams of the PPCB collected samples from the pickling tanks installed by the industries. Of the 24 units inspected, 12 were found using HCL in the pickling process, nine units were found to be H2SO4 consuming and three units were consuming both HCL as well as H2SO4 for the acid pickling process. Firms found using HCL against the norms were identified as Abhay Steel Pvt Limited, Vishnu Wires, United Marathan Engineers, Aggarson Fasteners, Ashish International, Kiscon industries, BD wires and allied industries, Ravindera Alloys Industries, Bansal Industries, Sond Impex, Vallabh Steel and Ganpati Fasteners, Sua Road. These industries have entered agreements for lifting of effluent with JBR Technologies, which is a spent sulphuric acid processing unit.” The inquiry revealed that sulphuric acid is used for better quality, but the process is time consuming and comes at higher costs. As small and marginal industries are always cost conscious, they tend to use HCL instead of sulphuric acid.