Mumbai: The Central Government has ruined the festive spirit ahead of Dussehra and Diwali by increasing petrol prices once again, former Petroleum Minster Ram Naik said here on Friday.

"In May, petrol was available at Rs 63.08 per litre. The prices were then raised by Rs 5 and now by Rs 3.40 i.e. by 14 percent in last four months and now petrol is available at Rs 71.92 per litre here," Naik said.

"This record hike is nothing but cruelty heaped on the common man," the senior BJP leader said, condemning Thursday’s hike in petrol prices.

The hike is in no way justifiable and the Government led by finance expert Dr Manmohan Singh should explain the rationale behind the increase, he said.

On one hand prices of diesel, petrol, kerosene and LPG are shooting up and on the other hand Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) is only at Rs 58.45 per litre i.e. even cheaper than the petrol by Rs 13.50, Naik said.

In addition to this burden, the Reserve Bank of India has increased interest rate 11 times in a row in a year, he said.

"The Government is also planning to put restrictions on supply of LPG and make it more expensive. It seems the Government does not want 'Aam Aadmi' to celebrate Diwali. If the Government goes ahead with this plan, it will boost black marketing of LPG," Naik said.

(Agencies)