By Shuriah Niazi
At least 23 people were killed and 81 others injured after a passenger train derailed in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, governmental officials said.
The incident took place in the town of Khautali of Muzaffarnagar district -- some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the capital New Dehli -- when the train was traveling from the city of Puri of the eastern Odisha state to the city of Haridwar of the northern Uttarakhand state, Arvind Kumar, a top official in Uttar Pradesh said.
Six cars of the Puri Haridwar Kalinga Utkal Express train derailed, Zee News quoted Union Minister Sanjeev Baliyan as saying.
The cause of the train derailment has yet to be determined.
Spokesman for Indian Railways Anil Saxena said the injured had been taken to nearby hospitals.
“The incident took place in the evening. Our first priority is to provide relief to the injured persons,” the spokesman told Anadolu Agency.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry into the train derailment to ascertain the cause of the incident. "Strict action will be taken against any lapse," he tweeted.
"I am personally monitoring the situation. Have instructed senior officers to reach the site immediately and ensure speedy rescue and relief operations," Prabhu added.
The minister has announced a compensation of Rs. 350,000 ($5,500) for the kin of deceased persons.
Rescue and search efforts have ended, added Prabhu.
Train accidents are common in India, where more than 22 million passengers use the rail system daily. Over 250 people were killed across the country in 2015 and 2016 alone.