The Regional Passport Office, Tiruchi, will soon introduce a new system to send short message service (SMS) over mobile phones to passport applicants to communicate the status of their applications.

A special software, which would generate the messages automatically to the applicants, went into testing on Saturday, Regional Passport Officer S.Balachandran told The Hindu. The system would be launched formally in the next few days.

Through the system, applicants would be intimated when their passports were despatched or if there was any objection or discrepancy in their application. The messages would be generated and sent in real time whenever an objection is entered into the system on a particular application. Apart from this, the regular intimation by post would also be sent to the applicants.

Mr.Balachandran also disclosed that the Passport Office would soon start generating the bar codes for the Speed Posts through which passports are delivered to the applicants. Currently, the barcode stickers are printed and supplied by the Department of Posts, which have to be manually pasted on the envelopes. By generating the barcodes, under a special arrangement with the Department of Posts, the Passport Office would also be making substantial savings by way of higher rebate offered by the Department. The new system would come into operation soon, he said.

Meanwhile, the third passport guidance camp conducted at the office on Saturday drew about 50 persons who were offered guidance on how to go about applying for a passport. Many persons with complicated problems were also offered assistance at the camp. Such camps have helped people avoid touts, Mr.Balachandran said.