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Kazakh President's Daughter Chides Steel Baron Mittal

Darigha Nazarbaeva (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) October 20, 2006 -- The powerful daughter of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev says she holds Indian-born steel baron Lakshmi Mittal responsible for the deaths of more than 80 Kazakh coal miners in the past three years.

Writing in the latest edition of the "Karavan" weekly as posted on its website, Nazarbaeva accuses Mittal and his steel group of failing to boost safety at the Kazakh coal mines they operate.

Nazarbaeva, who is an influential lawmaker, also says Kazakhstan must improve its labor legislation and see that foreign investors abide by it.

"The time has come for us to stop behaving like an obedient colony that bows to a foreign gentleman whose name appears on the 'Forbes' magazine list [of world's billionaires]," she wrote.

There is no immediate reaction from Arcelor Mittal.

A gas blast in September killed 41 Kazakh miners and triggered protest rallies. The group has since agreed to raise the monthly salaries of its employees to the equivalent of at least $700.