THE Mitkar children had barely reached home from school after Independence day celebrations two years ago, than they felt giddy, began throwing up and then fell unconscious. They were among the 200-odd children of Thane district's Prathmik Vidyamandir Purna, a gram panchayat school, who had eaten the mawa-adulterated white 'pedas' bought from the renowned Khandelwal Bros. Says Namrata Satardekar, a teacher in the school: "If the villagers hadn't taken the kids to the hospitals, they would've been in mourning."
Due to fears of adulteration, the school has replaced its three-decade-old peda-distribution with fruits. Even chocolates are out. The Mitkars have yet to get over the bitter experience of eating sweets. Meanwhile, Khandelwal Sweets, shut for a long time, has begun testing its business ground. "But," says Balkrishna Mitkar, "they have suffered a loss of credibility." Better that, than young lives!