The long-awaited Munsiyari-Milam road on which work started in 2012 is not likely to be completed before the end of 2023, a senior BRO official said on Thursday.

After this key strategic road is complete, it would be easy to reach the last security posts at the Indo-China border in Johar Valley by vehicles.

The strategically important high-altitude road was to be completed this year but making way through hard rocks is posing a big challenge, BRO chief engineer and in charge of the project MNV Prasad said.

Sub-zero temperatures during winter coupled with the coronavirus lockdown last year, which saw labourers returning home, has further delayed work on the key project, he said.

To speed up work on the project, BRO DG Lt Gen Rajiv Chaudhari said at a meeting with engineers that he was ready to extend all help in completing the road as soon as possible.

"Being constructed by the BRO to link security posts at the Indo-China border in Johar valley in the mid-Himalayan region, the 65-km road will probably be completed by the end of 2023,” he said.

When the work on the project started, it was being said it will be completed in 2015. However, the timeline was subsequently revised and extended up to 2021.

The construction agency has completed work on 25-km-long stretch of the road from Munsiyari side but around 15-km-long stretch after that consists of hard rock, slowing the progress of work, the BRO engineer said.

"We are facing hard rocks at Mapang, Bugdiyar, Laspa and Nahardevi and working hard to cut through them," he said.

From Milam side too, the work on a 9-km stretch is complete. The 15-km stretch containing hard rocks is the trickiest of them, Prasad said.

The black topping of a 16-km-long portion of the road from Munsiyari side has begun, he said.

After black toping work on this portion is completed, vehicles would be able to ply on this portion, benefiting tourists and local villagers, he said.