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Landowners collect tolls on the Mazatlán-Durango highway. They relinquished the plaza this week.

Communal landowners free toll plaza as 14-year-old dispute ends

The government is paying 63 million pesos in compensation for land used for Mazatlán-Durango highway

Communal landowners in Durango have relinquished control of a toll plaza they occupied for a year and a half to demand compensation for the use of their land to construct the Mazatlán-Durango highway.

The liberation of the Garabitos toll plaza came a day after the landowners from surrounding cooperatives received 33.5 million pesos (US $1.7 million), the first of two payments they will receive from the federal government.

Durango Governor José Rosas Aispuro Torres assured the landowners that another payment of 30.1 million pesos will be made next week.

“Next week, you will receive the remaining part of a total of 60.6 million pesos for compensation for your lands that were affected in the construction of the highway,” he said.

“Let me put on the record my gratitude to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for his willingness to resolve this matter which affected the communal landowners for over 14 years.”

Aispuro made the announcement at the toll plaza on Wednesday. After, the landowners began breaking down their encampment, taking away their belongings and cleaning the area.

President López Obrador visited the site on August 9, where he announced that the debt would be paid.

“This Monday, we will pay the landowners what they are owed, so that this can come to an end,” he said.

“This puts out a bad image of anarchy, of disorder,” he continued. “Regardless of the fact that their demand is just, we can’t allow them to continue charging a toll here after more than a year.”

Aispuro added that from now on no citizen would be allowed to take over public roads in the area.

Source: Reforma (sp), Milenio (sp)

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