AHMEDABAD, India (AP) _ At least 12,000 bodies have been recovered from the rubble of India's devastating earthquake and the death toll is estimated to be 25,000, a top official of Gujarat state said Wednesday.

The 25,000 estimate is based on the number of bodies recovered, those reported missing, the estimated number still lying under debris and reports gathered by government agencies, said Haren Pandya, home minister of Gujarat.

The announcement was a sharp jump in the number of deaths the state had reported. An hour earlier the state's emergency control room had said 7,162 bodies had been recovered.

Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes on Wednesday maintained that over 100,000 had died, but Panday said the state assessment was much lower.

The increased numbers came as several rescue teams found people alive in the rubble of buildings just as bulldozers began smashing walls and experts laid explosives to clear away the rubble.