The government on Sunday suspended four Northern Railway officials and sent its General Manager on leave after authorities admitted to negligence that may have led to the derailment of the Kalinga Utkal Express train in Uttar Pradesh which claimed 22 lives.
In an action that indicated that the government was determined to check recurring rail disasters in India, the Divisional Rail Manager, Delhi, and Railway Board Member (Engineering) were also asked to proceed on leave.
The action, which came nearly 24 hours after the tragedy, was taken based on prima facie evidence, a Railway Ministry statement said.
Senior Superintendent of Police Anant Deo told IANS that 22 people had died: 20 in Muzaffarnagar district and one each in hospitals in Ghaziabad and Meerut where they had been taken by their families. All but two of them were identified.
Over 150 injured were being treated in Muzaffarnagar and Meerut.
The railways said its staff was working to clear the derailed coaches and repair the damaged tracks as all trains on the route were diverted.
A Home Department official said 90 ambulances and four teams of the National Disaster
Response Force did rescue work through the night but many relatives of the dead and injured complained of lack of ambulances.