Visitors to Delhi will soon be able to get a bird's eye view of the city's splendour from the highest stone tower, the Qutab Minar, when the 72.5-metre monument opens its doors to visitors again.

Federal Tourism and Culture Minister Jagmohan has directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to reopen at least three storeys of the five-storey 13th century structure for tourists.

The monument is scheduled to open its doors in June.

"This will be a great tourist attraction and will draw more people to the Qutab. You can't just close a monument as important as Qutab Minar — Delhi's second World Heritage Site," Jagmohan said.

Although at one time all five floors of the Qutab were open to the public, since 1963 visitors were only allowed to go up to the first floor balcony. The Qutab has 379 steps, 155 of which lead to the first floor.

Visitors were banned from entering the Qutab after an accident on December 4, 1981. Forty-five people, including 20 schoolchildren were killed and several injured in a stampede on the spiral staircase.

Most of those killed were students of Government Higher Secondary School, Pali, Rajasthan and Yaseen M.D. College, Nuh, Haryana. A few students were also from colleges in West Bengal and Secunderabad. Most of the injured suffered multiple fractures.

It was alleged that with 300 visitors inside the Minar, there was a sudden power failure. Despite a request by the monument's attendants to wait as there was no electricity, several students from M.D. College forced their way into the Minar and started running up the stairs creating panic, resulting in a stampede.

Tickets were needed for entry into the Minar, except on Friday, when entrance was free. The day the accident took place was a Friday. The tragedy was the first of its kind in the 750 years (till 1981) of the existence of the Minar, which was built by Qutub-ud-din Aibak and completed by Iltutmish.

In a recent move, the ASI has been asked to involve the Central Public Works Department in ensuring an uninterrupted power supply inside the Minar. It remained without electricity for a few months recently as the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation Ltd, which looks after the illumination of the historical building, had suspended illumination.

The minister has also ordered that the red light atop the Qutab be restored. It is dangerously close to the flight path of international airlines arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

There are other hindrances to reopening the Qutab. A first step would be to remove the illegal encroachments near it. There are numerous stalls and hawkers around it and hardly any repairs have been carried out in or around the massive structure.

According to an ASI official: "The ambience of the place has been destroyed. But very soon the entire area will get a facelift. We intend turning it into a hub of culture and tourism."

Entry to the monument is likely to be regulated by allowing about 300 people to go in at a time. Of this, 40 people can comfortably be accommodated on the balcony and the rest will be in the process of going up or coming down the stairs in a single line each way.

The Qutab Minar has a diametre of 14.32 metres at the base and about 2.75 metres at the top, and a height of 72.5 metres. It is the highest stone tower in India and the most perfect example of Minar known to exist.