"Twenty nine bodies, including 13 men, 11 women and five children, have been recovered so far from the mishap site between Khirkiya and Harda, about 160 km from Bhopal," Madhya Pradesh government spokesman Anupam Rajan told PTI. The toll could further go up, he said.
Divers using gas cutters pulled out trapped passengers and 250 had been rescued by early morning, officials said. Dozens were rushed to hospital in critical condition.
"We are trying to rescue passengers. Relief work is going on on a war footing. We are checking all carriages to look for trapped passengers," said ministry spokesman Anil Saxena.
Twelve coaches of the Kamayani Express to Varanasi from Mumbai derailed near Harda in Madhya Pradesh just before midnight. Six coaches of the Janata Express derailed around the same time, the railway ministry said.
The accident relief train has reached the spot and severalpassengers have been brought to the nearby Harda station. Railway Ministry has ordered an inquiry into the twin derailments and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 to grievously injured and 25,000 to those who sustained minor injuries.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said all efforts are underway to rescue the passengers and top officials have been rushed to the site.
Heavy monsoon rains and the tail-end of a cyclone have killed more than 100 people across the country in flooding, landslides and building collapses in recent days.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year massively increased spending to modernize the network, but improvements will take years.
The head of the railway board, A.K. Mittal, however told reporters a flash flood struck the area just minutes before the trains came through, disturbing the tracks. "Ten minutes back at this spot, train movement was normal. There was no problem."
The country's state-run railway network carries some 23 million passengers every day. "The two train accidents in Madhya Pradesh are deeply distressing. Deeply pained over the loss of lives," Modi tweeted.