Jewar international airport, due to come up in Gautam Buddha Nagar district, is finally inching closer to reality as farmers from the region are steadily agreeing to give up their land for the project. So far, as many as 2,335 farmers have consented to give up 916 hectares of land for the proposed greenfield airport. This meets approximately 75% of the land requirement for the first phase. Speaking to FE, an official of the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) said it is now certain that the airport would come up in Jewar itself. The total land required for the first phase is 1,334 hectare, of which 116 hectare is government land. For the remaining 1,220 hectare, the district administration, as well as local MLA Dhirendra Singh, have been trying hard to convince farmers about the importance of the project. \u201cWe have finally accomplished the Herculean task of getting consent for the magical figure of 70% land required for the project. Confirmation has come from 2,335 farmers for 912 hectare, which is almost 75% of the total land required for the first phase. We are now sure that Uttar Pradesh would not be left behind in the development race,\u201d said Dhirendra Singh, adding that not only would the airport lift the fortunes of the region, but also act as a catalyst in improving the fortunes of the villagers and farmers of the area. Earlier, the civil aviation department had fixed August 31 as the deadline for seeking consent from farmers, which was later revised to September 6. However, till Thursday, the total consents enabled 67% requirement of land, following which the district administration sought more time. As per the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013, the administration needs to have the consent of at least 70% farmers before it can start acquisition. The government has agreed to pay Rs 2,300 per square metre for landowners; a job at the proposed airport for one member of each family; a residential plot sized 50% of the one they currently own; and double the value of their existing home to carry out construction of a new one. The process of acquiring land from the villagers, which began in May this year, has been fraught with difficulties, so much so that even YEIDA officials had started to give up hope, fearing that the project might shift from Uttar Pradesh to neighbouring Rajasthan. The primary bone of contention among the farmers was the fact that the state government had changed the nomenclature of their land from rural to urban, which entitles them to a compensation that is roughly half of what they would get if the land was classified as rural.