“While 96 farmers had committed suicide between January and March last year, the number has dropped to 48 this year," Yavatmal District Collector Sachindra Pratap Singh said.

"It is certainly a good sign and if the downward trend continues unabated for the next 12 months, the (Maharashtra) Chief Minister's assurance of converting Yavatmal and Osmanabad into suicide free districts will be possible," he added.

The district administration had launched awareness programme 'Baliraja Chetana Abhiyan' in July last year to curb farmer suicides. The response from the public for the programme is overwhelming, the Collector claimed. Singh appealed to farmers not to get disheartened over the prevailing drought situation.

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