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Mumbai, Jul 6: Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has offered to set up high tech agro kiosks across Maharasthra to help farmers get information on weather and cropping patterns.

Gates' offer came when Maharasthra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh met the Microsoft boss during an official visit this week. The chief minister is on an eight-day US visit.

A state government official said Gates has also agreed to set up a research centre near Pune apart from helping the government establish agro-kiosks.

A statement from Deskhmukh said the agro kiosks will help farmers get the latest information on weather, cropping patterns and trends in agricultural produce prices very quickly and efficiently.

Officials said when implement the agro kiosks will improve the condition of farmers in the state, which has witnessed mass suicides in last couple of years.

Chief Minister Deshmukh who led a high level delegation to Microsoft also signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a Microsoft research centre in Hinjewadi near Pune.

Already, the state government has allotted 25 acres of land for the Microsoft project. The research centre would immensely benefit the nearly 10,000 foreign students studying in Pune, the chief minister pointed out.

Early this year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had contributed $100 million for the spread of AIDS awareness across India, and especially in Maharashtra.


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