Two trains, Kamayani Express and Janata Express, derailed near Harda in Madhya Pradesh as the tracks were washed away by flash floods due to heavy rains, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
Making a suo motu statement on the incident in both Houses of Parliament, Prabhu said, "the prima-facie cause of the incident is stated to be flash floods due to heavy rains."
"As per available information, 12 passengers lost their lives and 25 sustained injuries in this unfortunate incident," Prabhu said, adding that while 11 bodies were recovered from the Rajendra Nagar-Mumbai Janta Express, one was recovered from Mumbai-Varanasi Kamayani Express.
"The exact number of casualties are still being ascertained," he said. However, the toll has been put at 24 by a Madhya Pradesh government spokesperson at the accident site.
The Minister said a statutory inquiry has been ordered and the Commissioner (Safety) will conduct the probe.
Maintaining that Railways was making all possible efforts to rescue the affected passengers, he said he along with junior minister Manoj Sinha will be "going personally" to the accident site to review relief and rescue operations.
He said Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had already reached the site.
Prabhu said the accident occured at 2350 hours last night and he, along with Chouhan, coordinated the rescue and relief operations throughout the night.
Giving details, he said Train No. 11071 DN Mumbai- Varanasi Kamayani Express and Train No. 13201 UP Rajendra Nagar-Mumbai Janta Express derailed between Khirkiya and Bhirangi stations on Khandwa-Itarsi section of West Central Railway at about 2330 hours on Tuesday.
"While the Train No. 11071 DN Kamayani Express was on run in block section between Khirkiya and Bhirangi stations, its 11 coaches derailed due to track wash out at km 648/01. At the same time, Train No.l 13201 UP Janta Express which was coming from opposite direction on UP track, also derailed at Km 647/03-04," he said.