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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Mayan Train in Yucatan remains largely undefined

While contractors and investors are lined up, no one is quite sure where the tracks will go

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Beekeepers seek protection from the Mayan Train. Photo: Google

Merida, Yucatan — Although construction work has begun elsewhere, the Mayan Train in Yucatan remains largely undefined. 

For now, they are working hand in hand with Mayan beekeepers, assuring them the massive Yucatan rail link doesn’t affect honey production on the Peninsula.

State official Aarón Rosado Castillo said that the secretariats of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) and of Agriculture and Rural Development (Sader) are cooperating with indigenous communities whose livelihoods depend on the Yucatan’s ecology.

An estimated 21 municipalities are directly involved, and another 24 indirectly, along a 252-kilometer/157-mile stretch of track that has been planned so far in Yucatan state.

Beekeepers and academics expressed concern about a possible decrease in honey production because of the railway project.

One of the specialists, UADY researcher Javier Becerril García, pointed out that the Yucatecan beekeeping is in a “critical” situation due to climate change and land-use modifications in various regions. 

He called for both an environmental and social impact study on the Mayan Train.

The 150-billion-peso Mayan Train project will be financed with mixed investment. The government will pay for 10 percent; the rest depends on private investment.

Already the federal government has pledged money saved from closing ProMexico and withdrawing Grand Prix incentives.

While financing is being arranged, the state’s Rosado Castillo said that indigenous people will continue to be consulted. 

No deadlines for the consultations have been announced, even as bids for contractors and investors are in play.

The bids, he insisted, will be “100 percent open.”

“Transparency will be crucial for the project,” he reiterated.

Without completed consultations with land inhabitants, the Mayan Train lacks a defined train route. 

“Until the studies are done … it would not be correct to say that there is a solid line when generating information from the study of the subsoil, environmental, social and cultural analysis of the impact of the train,” he added.

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