Relief and rescue operations at the train accident site in Madhya Pradesh were halted early on Wednesday evening due to continuing rain and poor visibility, officials said.
At least 15 trains have been cancelled and 72 diverted following the accident, railway officials said adding that the track restoration might take three days to enable a smooth train movement.
Meanwhile, some survivors blamed the officials for a delayed rescue operation and said had they begun earlier, more lives could have been saved. However, officials maintained that rescue teams reached the spot as early as possible despite heavy rain and poor access to the site due to damaged roads.
Accident survivor Chandra Bhushan said, “Several people, who had held on to something amidst rising water in the train, could have been saved if the rescue operations had begun early. But, the first rescue team arrived at the site only at 2am.”
A district official, however, said that despite approach problems and difficult terrain, the rescue teams reached the spot and began the work by 1:30am. He, however, admitted that rescue operations picked up only after the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team arrived at around 2am.
Many train passengers have been feared swept away by the water current from the accident site. Additional director general of police (railways) Anuradha Shankar said divers had been asked to look for bodies and rescue the survivors with 1 kilometres stretch down the stream.