As many as 18,268 individuals have been issued arms licence in Odisha, of which the highest - 1,327 - are from the mineral-rich Keonjhar district.

This was informed by the Minister of State (MoS) for Home, Tusharkanti Behera, in the Odisha Assembly on Monday.

Replying to a question by Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati, the minister said arms licence is issued to individuals for personal security, sports and target practice, and for providing security to bank property by the concerned district collector on the basis of the report of the superintendent of police.

Behera said 1,203 arm licences have been issued in the industrial town of Angul, followed by Balasore (1,155), Dhenkanal (1,126), and Kalahandia (999).

While 325 such licences were issued in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar police commissionerate area, 75 licences were issued in Rayagada district. Only 11 individuals have been issued arms licence in tribal-dominated Malkangiri district.