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Landowners in Bacalar want more details before climbing aboard the Maya Train. Landowners in Bacalar want more details before climbing aboard the Maya Train.

Fonatur seeks 1,000 hectares for Maya Train in Bacalar

But communal landowners want more information about the real estate project being planned

The National Tourism Promotion Fund (Fonatur) is seeking 1,000 hectares of community land in Bacalar, Quintana Roo, for a real estate project that will complement the Maya Train. But landowners are holding out for more information.

The tourism fund, which is in charge of the rail project that will link locations in five southeastern states, also wants another six hectares of Bacalar ejido land for the construction of a Maya Train station in the southern Quintana Roo town.

Ejido commissioner Luis Chimal Balam said that negotiations between Fonatur chief Rogelio Jiménez Pons and communal landowners have gone nowhere since the last meeting more than a month ago.

The ejido assembly has been clear that it will not authorize the use of such a large parcel of land without being certain that the community will be adequately compensated.

“They want to do business with our land but it’s not clear how we will benefit,” Chimal said. “They talk about being partners but they haven’t shown us a concrete proposal.”

He also said there is no formal agreement with Fonatur for the land where construction of the station is proposed although the landowners are willing to provide the six hectares.

“The last thing was that the assembly asked Rogelio Jiménez to show where the station will be, where the land they need is. We showed him three places, he liked one and said they were going to do studies to present to the assembly, but he later said that they want 1,000 hectares next to it . . .” Chimal said.

“Rogelio Jiménez came to me twice to tell me that they’ve planned a population center next to the station but my people also need resources . . .” he added.

Jiménez confirmed in an interview with the newspaper El Economista that Fonatur wants the large piece of land for a real estate project but stressed that the government would not expropriate the land.

He said the communal landowners will have the opportunity to partner with Fonatur and rent the land to the real estate investors. Fonatur will provide its expertise in attracting investment for the project, Jiménez said.

The tourism fund chief said in May that the Maya Train project will trigger real estate investment of at least 150 billion pesos (US $7.9 billion).

Real estate prices have already begun to soar in southern Quintana Roo as investors seek to secure land near the proposed route of the railroad.

The almost 1,500-kilometer-long railroad, which is scheduled to begin operations in 2023, will run through five states: Chiapas, Tabasco, Yucatán, Quintana Roo and Campeche.

Source: El Economista (sp) 

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